The story going into the Jr. Middleweight bout between former two-division world champion Danny Garcia and Jose Benavidez on July 30th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY centered on two aspects. First Damn Garcia’s return to competition after a near two year absence, and secondly Garcia’s first attempt competing in the normally talent-deep Jr. Middleweight division.
As simple as this might sound to the reader, there are times where the story leading into a fight does not require much explanation, even though in this case, it does involve a fighter in Garcia, who prior to his hiatus was regarded as one of the top fighters in the sport of Boxing. Despite the premise being simple to describe, what always interests this observer whenever a fight like this occurs is how a fighter in Garcia’s position would respond to fighting in a new weight class. Something clearly intended to give him a fresh start in his return to the ring.
What was also of interest to yours truly, which I touched upon in the days prior to this fight, was how Garcia would take punches from a fighter naturally bigger than him in the new weight class. Although I felt that Benavidez as the naturally bigger fighter needed to apply pressure on Garcia, what he failed to do in the fight was let his hands go consistently. Despite having periodic success in landing his right hand throughout the fight, Benavidez simply was not active enough over the course of the scheduled twelve round bout to have sustained success.
This allowed Garcia to be able to control the tempo of the combat. It also allowed him to skillfully out box Benavidez at a point where his combination punching as well as his ability to evade the majority of Benavidez’ offense with upper body movement, became the story of the fight. Even though Benavidez did succeed in being able to stalk Garcia from early on in the fight, the combination of Garcia’s offense as well as his defensive skills allowed him to box his way to what I felt was a convincing twelve round unanimous decision victory.
The view of this observer notwithstanding, sometimes what appears to be a clear unanimous decision to one’s eyes is not always reflected in the official scoring of a fight. While two official judges scored the fight in favor of Garcia by reasonably wide margins, which appeared to be in line with what happened in the fight, a third judge scored the fight a draw. While the subject of scoring in combat sports is in a word subjective and one that yours truly has spent a lot of time discussing over the past two and a half decades that I have covered Boxing and combat sports as a whole, out of respect for the reader, I will not say too much about that particular scorecard beyond my view that the judge who rendered that scorecard may have had a bad night at the office. What I will say however, is at least that one scorecard did not result in a controversial outcome in terms of who won this fight.
Although frankly I was hoping to provide much more analysis in this column, there is simply not much to say about a fight that, despite going the distance, was controlled by one fighter from start to finish in a workmanlike, but dominant performance. As for what comes next for Danny Garcia, I believe the most important thing at least for now is for him to stay active and continue to work off what is known as “Ring Rust” after such a lengthy absence from competition. Whether it is good or bad depending on one’s perspective, a fighter in Danny Garcia’s position as a former two-division world champion with name recognition does have the ability to secure big money opportunities and potential world title shots based on that clout he has. For now, activity is the key to not only work off that “Ring Rust,” but also to be sure that he has acclimated fully to the 154lb. Jr. Middleweight division. Danny Garcia’s first step into the Jr. Middleweight waters was a successful one, whether or not his next opponent will be able to provide a sterner test remains to be seen.
“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”
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