Tearful Danny Garcia savors win over melancholy after dominating Benavidez | Boxing

Danny Garcia’s marketing campaign for a world title in a 3rd totally different weight class acquired off to a auspicious begin on Saturday night time as he cruised to a dominant majority-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, in ringside choose Waleska Roldan’s view) 114-114.

The combat 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 far. Afterward, the previous two-division champion broke down in tears whereas nonetheless within the ring as he opened up concerning the debilitating anxiousness and mental-health struggles he’s endured since that skilled setback.

“I did take a break going via psychological issues, issues went darkish, I went via anxiousness, deep melancholy, simply making an attempt to be sturdy,” Garcia mentioned, combating via tears. “It was the stress of life, being a great dad, simply letting it out proper now, as a result of it was all caught inside. It rained on me for a 12 months and a half and the one approach to do higher was to combat once more. I’m a fighter. If you happen to battle anxiousness and melancholy, you may get out of it, that’s what I did at present. I fought.”

Benavidez’s edges of practically three inches in peak and attain have 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 press the benefit within the opening spherical. The Philadelphian continued to manage the tempo into the second and third frames, retaining his foe at bay with a gentle eating regimen of jabs to the physique whereas simply sidestepping Benavidez’s lashing forays into the pocket.

Feeling himself after closing the third with an beautiful four-punch mixture, Garcia appeared in whole 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 pressured the problem with busy, dogged physique work, utilizing deft upper-body motion to make himself tough to hit.

Danny Garcia v José Benavidez Jr
Danny Garcia, left, landed practically twice as many punches as José Benavidez Jr throughout their tremendous welterweight combat on Saturday night time. {Photograph}: Adam Starvation/Getty Photographs

Having constructed a cushty lead on the scorecards because the combat entered its second half, Garcia started mixing in proper arms upstairs with better frequency, catching Benavidez flush with a crunching hook halfway via the seventh that stopped him in his tracks.

From there it was solely a matter of whether or not Garcia, who struggled to hold his energy up from junior welterweight to welterweight, might 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.

Compubox’s punch statistics lent numerical context to the one-way site visitors. Garcia landed 223 of 746 punches (31.2%), together with a career-high 153 physique pictures, in comparison with simply 117 of 600 for Benavidez (19.5%).

Benavidez, a one-time blue-chip prospect whose profession trajectory was altered when he suffered a gunshot wound in his proper leg whereas strolling his canine close to his Phoenix house in 2016, struggled together with his mobility all through the night, however significantly over the ultimate rounds when it was clear he wanted one thing particular to reverse the run of play.

The 30-year-old from Arizona entered Saturday’s bout having fought simply as soon as – a listless majority draw towards the unheralded Francisco Emanuel Torres final 12 months – for the reason that lone earlier defeat on his ledger towards Terence Crawford in 2018. However he remained upbeat after the choice got here down.

“It’s robust, issues don’t all the time go your means, they’re ups and downs,” mentioned Benavidez, whose older brother, David, was a two-time tremendous middleweight champion. I attempt to be constructive, like when the physician mentioned I might by no means stroll once more. I didn’t let that get to me. The one one that may cease me is me.”

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 three-year 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 arms, beautiful timing and will take a punch. Seems that recipe can take you a good 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, arising 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 opening assertion at 154lbs, coupled together with his renewed presence of thoughts with respect to his wellbeing, make for a promising begin even in a combat with no remaining victories.

“I nonetheless battle some days,” he mentioned. “I’ve darkish days, however I attempt my finest to remain constructive. I really feel good.”


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