Danny Garcia Cruises By Jose Benavidez Jr. with Ease!
On Saturday, July 30, under the bright lights of New York City’s Barclays Arena, two-division world champion Danny “Swift” Garcia (37-3, 21KKOs) waged battle with former world title challenger Jose “Merciless” Benavidez Jr (27-2-1, 18KOs). This bout would mark the debut of Garcia fighting as a junior middleweight in pursuit of a world title in a third division. As for Benavidez Jr, he was looking to pick up the biggest win of his career since defeating former world title challenger Mauricio Herrera back in 2014.
Garcia, ranked #5 in the WBC rankings, hoped to put his loss to unified welterweight champion Errol Spence behind him. This bout marked his first fight in over a year. For the sake of his championship dreams at 154, Swift couldn’t afford another loss.
Conversely, Benavidez Jr. was simply looking for a big win to further his career. Merciless came out of the amateurs with a lot of promise. However, since being shot back in 2016, he’s instead been forced to fight sporadically due to lingering knee issues. In his lone world title opportunity, he was stopped in twelve rounds by WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford in 2018. In the aftermath, he wouldn’t fight again until last November, settling for a very fortunate draw against Francisco Emanuel Torres.
Both men possess knockout power, which kept things pretty even throughout the first round as they proceeded with caution. Sporting a two-inch height advantage, Merciless would stalk Swift behind his jab. Swift would be wise to go to the body early and often as he was looking to slow Merciless down for a possible late stoppage.
While Garcia used his jab and subtle movement to control the pace of the fight, Benavidez had his moments, landing some solid left hooks and right hands.
A PHILLY BOXING LESSON!
Simply put, Garcia delivered a boxing lesson throughout the first half of the fight, with Merciless only able to land a left hook and right hand on occasion. That’s only when he wasn’t trash talking and sticking his tongue out. However, Benavidez would have his best round in the ninth as he landed some hard right hands and left hooks to the head of Garcia, who would back up.
Ultimately, that momentum would be short-lived as Garcia quickly regained control of the fight. After twelve one-sided rounds, Swift would be forced to settle for a very questionable majority decision. The scores were 114-114, 116-112, and 117-111.
In the aftermath, Garcia was asked about possibly fighting former WBC 154-pound champion Tony Harrison, who expressed interest in fighting him during the telecast. While Garcia said he’d fight anyone, he specifically called for a rematch against former unified 147-pound champion Keith Thurman – the man who gave him his first loss back in 2017, and WBA Regular 160-pound champion Erislandy Lara, who’s called him out.
With his options plentiful, it’ll be interesting to see which direction Garcia decides to go.
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By: Jerrell Fletcher