Danny Garcia’s marketing campaign for a world title in a 3rd completely different weight class received off to a promising begin on Saturday night time as he cruised to an easy unanimous-decision win over José Benavidez Jr in his tremendous welterweight debut at Brooklyn’s Barclays Middle.
The 34-year-old from North Philadelphia, a former unified champion at 140lbs who additionally gained the WBC’s model of the title at 147lbs, made simple work of his taller, longer opponent, profitable by scores of 116-112, 117-111 and (absurdly) 114-114.
The struggle marked Garcia’s first outing since a unanimous-decision loss to Errol Spence Jr in December 2020, a span of practically 20 months and the longest layoff of his profession by a long way. Afterward, the previous two-division champion broke down in tears as he opened up concerning the anxiousness and mental-health struggles he’s endured since that skilled setback.
“I did take a break going via psychological issues, issues went darkish,” Garcia stated, preventing via tears throughout an in-ring interview. “I went via anxiousness, deep despair, simply making an attempt to be robust.”
He continued: “It was the strain of life, being dad, simply letting it out proper now, as a result of it was caught inside, it rained on me for a 12 months and a half and the one option to do higher is to struggle and I’m a fighter. When you battle anxiousness and despair, you will get out of it, that’s what I did at present. I fought.”
Benavidez’s benefits of practically three inches in top and attain had been much more obvious underneath the Barclays Middle lights than at Friday’s weigh-in, however Garcia’s positive footwork left his opponent unable to take benefit in the course of the opening spherical.
The Philadelphian continued to manage the tempo into the second and third frames, preserving his foe at bay with a gentle food plan of jabs to the physique whereas simply sidestepping Benavidez’s clumsy forays into the pocket.
Feeling himself after closing the third with an beautiful four-punch mixture, Garcia appeared in complete command within the fourth and fifth as Benavidez’s already lagging work charge additional dropped off and he started to point out seen indicators of frustration. Garcia pressed the difficulty with busy, dogged physique work, utilizing deft upper-body motion to make himself tough to hit.
Having constructed a snug lead on the scorecards because the struggle entered its second half, Garcia started firing proper fingers upstairs with larger frequency, catching Benavidez flush with a crunching hook halfway via the seventh.
From there it was solely a matter of whether or not Garcia, who struggled to hold his energy up from junior welterweight to welterweight, may shut the present with a knockout. The stoppage didn’t come, however not for lack of making an attempt as Garcia poured on the punishment within the twelfth spherical till the ultimate bell.
As he amassed a Corridor of Fame resume throughout an electrical run of wins over Lucas Matthysse, Amir Khan, Zab Judah and Érik Morales (twice) throughout a embellished reign at junior welterweight, Garcia was constantly underestimated as a result of he was unexplainable. He was spectacular in nobody aspect, however hit exhausting with each fingers, beautiful timing and will take a punch. Seems that recipe can take you a great distance.
However after transferring as much as welterweight and outpointing Robert Guerrero for the vacant WBC belt in 2016, Garcia was unable to ship a signature win towards the division’s elite, developing quick in title fights towards Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter and, lastly, Spence.
What that portends for his long-term outlook one division larger is anybody’s guess, however Garcia’s robust opening assertion at 154lbs is a promising begin.
“I nonetheless battle some days,” he stated. “I’ve darkish days, however I attempt my greatest to remain optimistic. I really feel good.”