Garcia vs. Benavidez: Can Danny Make Noise in Act III at 154?

By Chris Carlson - 07/28/2022 - Comments

This Saturday night, Danny Garcia makes his return after a long layoff dating all the way back to December 2020. The distinct difference this time out will be Garcia moving up to the junior middleweight division.

His opponent Jose Benavidez Jr. has just one loss to Terence Crawford but has only fought one time since then and is coming off a majority draw to Francisco Emanuel Torres. Danny makes his comeback at a venue he knows all so well in his home away from home at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. This Showtime Tripleheader is available on the network or the SHO app and features two interesting undercard bouts along with two bouts streaming live on Showtime’s YouTube Channel.

Can Danny Garcia make some noise at the 154-pound division in what could be described as Act III of his career? Obviously, Danny has competed against elite boxers across 140 and 147, but how realistic is it for Danny to take on a top-level guy at his third weight heading into Saturdays? Boxing has plenty of political issues per usual, but we can strike that one off the board because of the depth of quality opposition his representation has at junior middleweight. Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions has invested a lot of time into 154 since 2016. A division that may not be among the top tier as far as the number of elite boxers, regardless, it’s delivered fans so many great matchups and upsets along the way to crowing Jermell Charlo as the current king.

Power is always a question to see if a boxer can carry it up in weight, and it was clear when Danny Garcia moved up to welterweight that he didn’t seem as powerful of a puncher as he was at 140.

Garcia clearly still had plenty of pop at 147, a weight class he’s competed in for a long time now. The argument, of course, which Danny’s side is using, is the weight drain of making it all the way down to welterweight and the effects that can have on a fighter’s body during training camp. Not having to lose that last chunk of pounds and being able to be full strength while training can make a difference. We won’t know how successful Danny can be as a junior middleweight until we see him in there with a top-10 guy, which he won’t be facing this go-around.

Beyond a decent performance in a loss to Crawford, Jose Benavidez does have two good wins over Mauricio Herrera and Francisco Santana. It should be noted both of those fights were competitive regardless of the scorecards and this boxing podcaster believes he lost one of them. It’s very difficult to know what version of Jose Benavidez will see in the ring on Saturday, given time out of the ring. On paper, this appears to be an okay name for Danny Garcia to face testing out a new weight class considering the time away from the sport. Expect some two-way action either round to round or within the rounds in the first part of the fight.

Look for Danny Garcia to catch Jose Benavidez with a counter shot via the left hook. Whenever it lands, it will change the fight. Danny Garcia should be able to wear down Jose Benavidez with power shots to the head and body in what will at the very least be an entertaining scrap unless the +425 and up underdog can’t make it close heading into the later rounds.

My Official Prediction is Danny Garcia by Unanimous Decision or late TKO.

The undercard features what should be a bit of a slobber-knocker between Adam Kownacki and Ali Eren Demirezen. At times crossroads fights can create so much urgency in fighters that the desperation comes through the screen and into our living rooms, so let’s hope that is exactly what we get in the co-feature. The opener is a good test for a rising contender at 140 in Gary Antuanne Russell, taking on a skilled veteran in Rances Barthelemy. In recent years Barthlemey is thought of as a bit of a spoiler due to his style, but mainly it was the boring fight he had against Robert Easter Jr. At just 16 fights into his pro career, Russell can benefit by facing an experienced guy like Rances who could possibly present some issues by taking strength away thus forcing the younger fighter to adjust.

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Side Note: Just a heads up for Saturday checkout Chris Billam-Smith vs. Isaac Chamberlain which is a closely matched bout on paper. Also, before Showtime’s Tripleheader streaming on YouTube will be Vito Mielnicki vs. Jimmy Williams and Sergiy Derevyanchenko vs. Joshua Conley.

Written by Chris Carlson, Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio