By: Sean Crose
He was brimming with confidence, perhaps justifiably so, with his record of 27 wins against zero defeats. Jose Benavidez Jr wasn’t supposed to beat Terence Crawford in front of Crawford’s home town audience that night in 2018, but the Arizonan was ready to shock the world. “I don’t think Crawford is as good as people say,” he had claimed. “He is decent and not great. I came here to knock him out in his hometown. He is in a bigger weight division now and we have a lot more firepower than we ever had.”
Crawford proved that he was indeed as good as people said he was when he and Benevidez squared off at Omaha’s CHI Health Center, handing the 26 year old Benavidez’ the lone loss of an impressive career via explosive stoppage. It’s perhaps doubtful Benavidez even felt the Crawford uppercut that sent him to the mat in the 12th. With that being said, there’s no denying Benavidez proved to be a rugged challenge for Crawford throughout their match. Crawford may have clearly proven to be the better man, as had been expected, but it would be hard for anyone to say Benavidez had made an embarrassment of himself. The match was certainly no blowout. Unfortunately, Benavidez wouldn’t fight again for another three years – and when he did return to the ring last November, it was to battle Francisco Torres to a majority draw.
Now, however, Benavidez has a chance to truly redeem himself and get his career back in the direction he wants it to be going. For Saturday night at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, the now 30 year old Benavidez will be facing former world titlist Danny Garcia as Philly native Garcia makes the jump up to super welterweight. Like Benavidez, Garcia is coming off a less than stellar run. The 34 year old has won only three of his last six fights and will be returning to the ring this weekend without having fought in a year and a half.
That’s good news for Benavidez. What’s not good news is the fact that Garcia is an experienced fighter, one who has had a very impressive career for himself. Those three losses? They came from facing Errol Spence, Shawn Porter and Keith Thurman, world class fighters all. Garcia has also bested the likes of Amir Khan, Pauli Malignaggi, Zab Judah and Lucas Matthysse. In short, people will be surprised if Benavidez is able to pull it off this weekend. Once again, however, Benavidez exudes confidence. “The winner of this fight is going to go back up on the map,” he says, “it’s going to be fight of the year, 100 percent.”
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