Two-division world boxing champion Danny Garcia is back in the ring after a 19-month hiatus and will face Jose Benavides Jr. at super welterweight on July 30.
As a boxer, Danny Garcia has nothing to prove. After 15 years as a professional boxer, Garcia is a world champion in both divisions and has beaten legends such as Eric Morales and Zab Judas.
He could retire and one day join other greats in the International Boxing Hall of Fame, but at 34 years old, the Philly, Pennsylvania native isn’t done yet to add to his legend.
Garcia (36-3, 21 KOs) has only lost three games for his record and has never had trouble in that span. In December 2020, Garcia faced arguably the toughest test of his career against undefeated welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr.
Garcia punched well, but couldn’t match Spencer’s intensity and punching accuracy. Spencer won by unanimous decision, but Garcia didn’t just stand his ground. He looked like he could beat most elite welterweights not named Spencer or Terence Crawford, but Garcia felt something was wrong.
In the fight against Spencer, Garcia felt a step behind. There is no physical problem. Garcia conditionally returned to form, but the previous fire in his heart did not burn in the same way. He needs a break.
“I think it’s a good, competitive game, but I don’t think he looks great, and I don’t think I look great either,” Garcia told FanSided. “In terms of energy,” he said. , I feel a little dull, that’s because I feel a little mentally tired. “
Garcia hasn’t played professionally since his game against Spencer 19 months ago. He never questioned quitting the sport forever, but he needed time away from boxing.
“Yeah, I was just spending time with my family and giving myself some time to miss the sport,” Garcia said. “Mentally, just resting my brain and resting my body.”
Garcia has not had a break since he started boxing at the age of 10. Repeating anything long enough will get old. Garcia knows the rivalry will find him again, but it will take time.
Watch Danny Garcia vs. Jose Benavidez Jr. on Showtime Saturday, July 30 at 9 p.m. ET
“You know, when you wake up and want to go to the gym, it means you’re tired,” Garcia said. “But when you wake up feeling excited, rested, and feeling good, it means you’re ready to go. That’s how I feel.”
It took more than a year for that feeling to come back to Garcia, but it came and that’s what matters.
Garcia is back in action against Jose Benavidez Jr. on Saturday, July 30 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. It’s a familiar arena for Garcia, who has fought there eight times. However, this time is different.
When Garcia entered the Barclays Center against Benavides, he was doing it with a new weight. Garcia competed as super welterweight for the first time. He felt that the department was his new home.
“No, absolutely no regress,” Garcia said. “No going back. No going back. So we just want to keep going up and up and up again. So you know, we’re going to be 154 and we’re not going back. This is our new place. This is our new weight level.”
Garcia has worked hard in the past to reach the 147-pound limit. He recently told the PBC podcast (h/t Bad Left Hook) that his walking weight is 170, but before Spence he was 185.
Losing 20-30 pounds is already a lot for a boxer, but Garcia is now feeling more at ease with the 154-pound class.
“So you don’t want to go to the gym and worry about losing all your weight or having a weight loss plan,” Garcia says. “You’re always going to lose weight, but you don’t have to lose as much, you know, it makes you happy.”
Garcia told FanSided that he has weighed 166 pounds and believes he will have more muscle mass against Benavides than in previous games.
Benavides (27-1-1, 18 KOs) was the perfect match for Garcia’s super welterweight debut. He’s only 30 but has something to prove, having lost one and a draw in his past two games.
Benavidez, a powerhouse fighter who won the WBA interim super lightweight title from 2014 to 2015, failed to live up to expectations. He has something to prove against Garcia and will be a loser.
Assuming all goes well with Garcia, he’s eager to step into the ring with Erislandy Lara or Jermell Charlo next.
“Laura is a middleweight champion and I believe in the WBA,” Garcia said. “He said he wanted to fight. I thought it made a lot of sense. And then who would I want to fight with. Charlo, like I said, I knew he had some compulsion or something.”
If Garcia wins over Benavides, he’ll definitely have plenty of options next. Now, he’s keen to take the time to enjoy boxing again while remaining patient.
“So, like I said before, I just need to play one game at a time,” Garcia said. “I have to be like Danny Garcia, my old mentality. Just take one guy at a time and not really worry about the others. That’s how I approach this fight. One fight at a time, one round at a time, one day at a time. “