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July 10, 2023
By: Kirk Jackson
We’re steadily approaching a boxing card that promises to be a battle in Brooklyn, headlined by two exciting pugilists, aiming to make a splash in what is arguably the deepest division in sport at junior middleweight (154 lbs.).
Listed below are the final weights for the Danny “Swift” Garcia vs. Jose “Merciless” Benavidez Jr. card on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING via Premier Boxing Champions slated for Saturday, July 30 live on SHOWTIME from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
Super Welterweight Bout – 12 Rounds
Danny Garcia – 152 ¾ lbs.
Jose Benavidez Jr. – 153 ¾ lbs.
Referee: Steve Willis; Judges: Glenn Feldman (Conn.), Anthony Paolillo (N.Y.), (Waleska Roldan (N.Y.)
Heavyweight Bout – 10 Rounds
Adam Kownacki – 251 ¼ bs.
Ali Eren Demirezen – 262 ¾ lbs.
Referee: Eric Dali; Judges: Mark Consentino (N.J.), Martha Tremblay (Mass.), Steve Weisfeld (N.J.)
Super Lightweight Bout – 10 Rounds
Gary Antuanne Russell – 137 ¾ lbs.
Rances Barthelemy – 139 ½ lbs.
Referee: Shada Murdaugh; Judges: John McKaie (N.Y.), Kevin Morgan (N.Y.), Robin Taylor (N.Y.)
Middleweight Bout – 10 Rounds
Sergiy Derevyanchenko – 159 ½ lbs.
Joshua Conley – 160 lbs.
Super Welterweight Bout – Eight Rounds
Vito Mielnicki Jr. – 153 ¾ lbs.
Jimmy Williams – 153 lbs.
How does the fight turn out between Danny Garcia and Jose Benavidez Jr.?
The main event Saturday night features the matchup between two-division world champion Danny “Swift” Garcia (36-3, 21 KO’s) and former interim world title holder Jose “Merciless” Benavidez Jr. (27-1-1, 18 KO’s).
Both are quite accomplished with solid opposition listed across their respective resumes. Garcia and Benavidez are strong, confident and hungry with something to prove this weekend to every spectator with their eyes glued to this encounter.
Each fighter has a set of skills in which makes them unique and can be utilized to their advantage in this meeting of minds and fists.
Who’s set of skills and advantages will prevail this weekend?
“I’m ready. I feel strong and I’m happy to be here. It’s exciting to be fighting in this big arena. I’m ready to show the world that I’m the one at 154 pounds,” said Benavidez, in an interview leading up to this fight.
“I’m the bigger guy at this weight. I’m confident, I’m strong and I’m ready.”
To Benavidez’s point, they may weigh in relatively the same, but everyone carries their weight differently. Benavidez listed anywhere from 5’10” to 6’0″, may pose issues for Garcia who is considered the shorter, smaller fighter at 5’8″- making his debut at a higher weight class (154 lbs.).
Garcia, who is normally a slow starter, may experience trouble navigating his way towards the inside early in the fight. Other potential issues for Garcia – will carrying the extra weight slow him down and will fighting a bigger body than what he is accustomed to affect him later in the fight (should it go the distance)?
“I knew once I took that break, that I’d come back at 154 pounds,” said Garcia.
“A lot of people don’t know how I’ve been squeezing my body down. I think people will be surprised about how strong I am.”
It’s estimated Garcia may have walked around upwards of 170 lbs. when he was not fighting, one could imagine how brutal the weight cuts could be getting down to the junior welterweight (140 lbs.) and welterweight (147 lbs.) limits in previous fights.
Benavidez however, mentioned in a recent interview he walks around 190 lbs.
But being bigger, doesn’t necessarily mean being better. The smaller or lighter fighter can chop down the larger fighter. Former heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder albeit tall, standing 6’7″ is considered light for the division, weighing generally anywhere from 207 to 220 lbs.
Wilder however has dynamite in his right hand and that typically terminates his opponents.
Recently retired, multiple division world champion Manny Pacquiao was generally regarded as the smaller fighter in most of his fights above super featherweight (130 lbs.). But he possessed enough pop to carry over in higher weight classes, enabling his effectiveness and success in addition to his speed.
Point being, the question beckons if Garcia will have enough punching power in this new division? Known for his left hook and in addition to the punching power, will Garcia’s speed transfer over as well?
Will injuries play a role? How much of a detriment will leg injuries from the past (Gunshot injury in 2016) play against Benavidez for his fight with Garcia?
Physical attributes always play a factor, but for this match-up, the physical attributes may not be the determining variable on who walks away the winner Saturday night.
Other key components include training and preparation, ring intelligence and the ability to adjust – and that stems from the brain trust within the corner – the head trainers.
Benavidez and Garcia share similarities in regard to having a strong father as their respective lead trainers. From the amateur to the professional ranks, each father guided their sons through the battlefield of boxing.
Who has the best strategy, who can implore the correct tactics and adapt between rounds? Perhaps the most important variable that will determine the outcome of the main event is EXPERIENCE.
Benavidez has the experience at a higher weight, with his last fight occurring at middleweight against Francisco Torres, in which resulted in a draw.
While Benavidez has sparred with some of the best fighters over the past 15 years or so and has a good resume having faced Mauricio Herrera and was competitive against Terence “Bud” Crawford, one can argue Garcia has the overwhelmingly edge of experience against greater opposition.
Garcia faced the current crop of who’s who of welterweights – Errol Spence, Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman. Not to mention, he has names like Lamont Peterson, Erik Morales, Zab Judah, Lucas Matthysse, Amir Khan, Robert Guerrero, Herrera and others on his resume.
Granted context matters regarding those fighters’ respective conditions during that timeframe of each fight – more or less of those names listed were fighters still in or near their primes.
Another important note pertaining to styles, while Garcia is considered a slow starter as mentioned earlier, he is a sharp counter-puncher and Benavidez does not necessarily overwhelm opponents with punch output.
Significant hand speed, superb lateral movement and punch activity (see Thurman, Porter, Spence) can pose problems for Garcia historically when analyzing his career, Benavidez does not appear to pose those kinds of problems.
Garcia is listed as an 8-1 favorite according to DraftKings. This is an indication of the importance and respect of his accomplishments and ability to perform under the bright lights.
His wealth of experience in addition to the contrast of styles that Garcia should and probably will lean towards a favorable performance this weekend.