Danny Garcia returns to the ring with an impressive win at Barclays
It was a new weight class for the former two-division champion, but he was the Danny Garcia of old inside the ring on Saturday night.
Garcia raised his hand in the 12th round, causing the Barclays Center crowd to rise as he stuck his tongue out at David Benavidez, listening to Brooklyn fans chant his name.
Then the bell rang, and it completed Garcia’s successful return to the ring after 19 months.
Philadelphia, 34, made a strong announcement of their presence in the super-welterweight division, moving to a majority decision of 114-114, 116-112 and 117-111 to move to 37-3. The 114-114 score was immediately called into question, as Garcia seemingly controlled the entire fight.
More importantly, it gave a boost to the career of Garcia, who still looks capable of being the world champion boxer he always promises in him.
“I took a break going through mental things, things got dark,” an emotional Garcia said afterwards while fighting back tears. « I went through anxiety, deep depression, just trying to be strong.
« It was the pressure of life, being a good dad, just letting it out now [crying] because it was stuck inside it rained on me for a year and a half and the only way to get better is to fight and i’m a fighter, if you’re fighting anxiety and depression, you can get away with it, that’s what I’m doing today. I fought. »
After three losses in his last six fights, Garcia has moved up to 154 pounds to begin his quest for a world title in a third division. His career had slowed somewhat after hitting a 33-0 record, recording losses to Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter and Errol Spence Jr. as he sought to unify his welterweight title, and the change offered some sort of relief. reset. After the longest layoff of his career, he returned to his favorite home crowd, who chanted his name all night as he made his ninth fight at Barclays Center.
Garcia’s height disadvantage at the new weight didn’t seem to bother him, using his speed to get around Benavidez’s guard and dodge his opponent’s savage attempts, staying comfortable all night.
After two thoughtful first rounds, Garcia started to let his hands fly in the third, using flurries of punches to set up body shots to Benavidez’s chest. Knocking Benavidez off his hands, Garcia started unloading left-right combinations, connecting with big right hooks to Benavidez’s head.
Tempers flared in the fourth and fifth rounds, and Benavidez – despite seemingly losing all three rounds – began to taunt Garcia, sticking his tongue out, blowing kisses and talking to his opponent. Garcia returned the favor, raising his arms to his side, leaving himself defenseless while swelling the Brooklyn crowd.
Benavidez’s antics and efforts to convince the judges he wasn’t getting the punishment he was clearly getting, didn’t stop Garcia’s relentless combinations from landing and racking up points on the Dashboards. Benavidez found a few big right hands in the final rounds, but by the 12th and final round, the two were largely trading jibes and taunts rather than punches.
« He was like ‘stop running, little b–h.’ I was like ‘everything is fine’. But I got it back in the 12th round, you saw it, right? The more it changes, the more it’s the same. »
Brooklyn native Adam Kownacki (20-3), despite having an extremely promising first three rounds, lost to Ali Eren Demirezen in the heavyweight co-main event. It was the third loss in a row for the 33-year-old, whose career is now at a crossroads as he is forced to assess his future in the sport.
« I don’t know, I was letting him go down first, I wasn’t moving my feet, I went back to the old me instead of the first few rounds when I was doing well, » Kownacki said after the fight. “I have two children, I’m going to have a long talk with my wife to see what I want to do. I had so many fights here, so many great memories, I don’t want to come out as a loser. I would like another fight to leave my fans with a win.
Gary Antuanne Russell (16-0) stayed perfect in the card’s opener, beating Rances Barthelemy via sixth-round TKO in his first fight since the family lost patriarch, Gary Ruyssell Sr. The stoppage was hugely controversial, prompting loud boos throughout the arena as former champion Barthelemy looked like he could continue before the referee stopped him. The win continued Russell’s 100% knockout record.
« I want to tell my dad above I did it for him, we’ll keep going for the pops, I want to thank Showtime for letting me in, » Gary Antuanne said after his win. “I know Rances was a top athlete and he wanted to continue. The emotions were strong. Whether we are injured or beaten, as a warrior you always want to continue but the referee was doing his job, and if he had been allowed to continue it would have been the same result. I would have had it.