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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