By: Sean Crose
Danny Garcia returns to the ring on Saturday night to face Jose Benavidez Jr after being essentially out of action since he lost to welterweight powerhouse Errol Spence around a year and a half ago. The fight will be broadcast live on Showtime from Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center, a kinda/sorta home arena for Garcia, who is a product of not-so-far-away Philadelphia. What makes this fight rather notable, aside from it being Garcia’s return bout after a considerable absence, is the fact Garcia is now moving up to the junior middleweight division for the first time in his career. That may prove to be something of a challenge for the 34 year old.
As for Benavidez, Saturday’s bout represents a second chance. The man hasn’t won a fight since 2018. In fact, Benavidez has only fought once since being stopped by Terence Crawford in October of that year. What’s more, Benavidez’ comeback fight last November saw him battling Francisco Torres to a draw. Make no mistake about it, both men need a win this evening. The focus will be on former world titlist Garcia, of course, but Benavidez is walking in with a two and a half inch height advantage. He’s also four years younger than his more lauded opponent.
Still, it’s Garcia who has faced a whose who of the contemporary boxing scene over the past ten years or so. Erik Morales. Paulie Malignaggi. Amir Khan. Lucas Matthysse. Zab Judah. Robert Guerrero. Lamont Peterson. These may not be the names of all time greats, but they’re impressive names, nonetheless. What’s more, Garcia’s only losses have been to Keith Thurman, Spence, and Shawn Porter respectively…and the Porter and Thurman fights were pretty close. So there’s a reason many expect Garcia to exit the ring tonight with another win added to his 36-3 record. Should Benavidez pull off the upset, however – and that’s not impossible to imagine – the Phoenix based fighter will have improved his own record to 28-1-1. Saturday’s fight will be a scheduled 12 rounder.
Heavyweight Adam Kownacki will be on tonight’s card, as well, putting his 20-2 record on the line against the 16-1 Ali Eren Demirezen in a scheduled 10 rounder. Junior welterweight Gary Anutanne Russell will make a ring appearance, too, as the 15-0 climber takes on the 29-1-1 Rances Barthelemy in battle set for 10 rounds. The entire televised card begins airing 9 PM eastern time this evening on Showtime.