By: Sean Crose
Size didn’t much matter on Saturday night as Jose Benavidez proved to be no match for a smaller and older Danny Garcia. Having been out of the ring for about a year and a half after losing to Errol Spence, there were questions as to how well Garcia would perform now that he was moving up from welterweight to junior middleweight. That questions still may not be answered, but the Philadelphia native was certainly off to a good start on Saturday. From the opening bell the 36-3 former titlist showed that he was simply levels above his 28-1-1 opponent.
It was a strange fight, with the 30 year old Benavidez appearing supremely confident pretty much throughout that his size and power would surely bring about Garcia’s demise before the final bell. It simply didn’t happen, and all the showmanship in the world on the part of the Phoenix fighter couldn’t change that. Oddly enough, Benavidez appeared fine eating Garcia’s punches for the first eight rounds while doing little himself. And when he did punch, he didn’t exactly land effectively all that often. Garcia had a lot to do with that, of course, but Benavidez’ strategy remained completely puzzling.
Things finally changed a bit in the ninth round, when Benavidez began landing well and effectively. Yet Garcia resumed looking sharp and crisp in the tenth. Again, Philadelphia’s Garcia simply looked to be a considerably better fighter than the once promising Benavidez. Garcia reminded people on Saturday just how good a very good fighter can be. Although few would call Garcia great, he certainly showed how close to the top of the talent mountain he was – even in his mid thirties. And so the fighter known as “Swift” slipped punches, outfoxed and outlanded his man for the remainder of the fight, which, of course, he ended up winning by majority decision.
“I worked through some anxiety, depression, and I just tried my best to stay strong,” Garcia said afterward, fighting through tears while referring to his time away from the ring. “The pressure of life, the pressure of boxing, being a good dad,” he stated, admitting to the concerns that have plagued him. As for the future? “I’d like to have a rematch with Keith Thurman,” he said. Garcia also mentioned Erislandy Lara as a potential opponent.
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