In a new weight division, boxer Danny Garcia hopes the spark will return this Saturday

by spicyray
4 min read

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fter 23 years in boxing, former two-division champion Danny Garcia should have learned a lesson, or two, or three, and then some.  After showcasing a pretty good record (36-3. 21 KOs), the fighter from Philadelphia, PA knows the nibbles and bits of what it takes to get fans captivated.

However, what the 34-year-old either knew, but failed to give considerable consideration, and that was the inevitable: for most fighters, difficulties with weight and motivation play a significant factor over time.

“It was getting a little difficult,” Garcia told Boxing junkie about trying to make the 147-pound weight limit. “I wasn’t feeling as strong as I used to. I knew it was time to go up. … I actually feel stronger. I don’t have to kill myself losing weight…”

What Garcia is making reference to is his lopsided defeat to Errol Spence Jr. in 2000. The night he lost, the headliner leading up to the fight was the storyline of the horrific accident that Spence was involved in. Law enforcement said Spence was driving his Ferrari 488 Spider at a high speed when he lost control and flipped multiple times.  He was thrown from the car and wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, which law enforcement said probably saved his life.  After the investigation, it was discovered that Spence had been drinking alcohol.

With a near-fatal crash, the typical protocol is for a fighter to take on what is known as a tune-up to measure where their skills are at that point and time.  When Spence challenged Garcia, he was adamant he wanted to fight the best.  But the reverse could be said, and that was: did Spence choose Garcia because he viewed Garcia slightly above a tune-up status? A small risk, but not enough, to give Spence his first defeat.

Either way, Garcia was once considered a force in the 140- and 147-pound division.  From 2011 to 2013, he challenged top former world champions such as Erik Morales (to win a major title), Amir Khan, Zab Judah and Lucas Matthysse at 140 pounds.

And in 2016, he defeated Robert Guerrero to win his second title.  However, Garcia’s streak ended when his level of competition increased. He suffered defeats to: Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman and of course Spence.

“I’ve been fighting at 140 and 147 since the amateurs, for 13 years. I always felt my natural weight was more significant, and I was squeezing down,” Garcia said during the press conference for his fight this Saturday against Jose Benavidez Jr. on SHOWTIME® from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Headlining Premier Boxing Champions.

Ready to showcase news skills

Garcia will make his Super Welterweight (154-pound) debut and is the favorite to defeat Benavidez. “I feel like this weight fits me well. I feel young and fresh. I’m strong and with a lot more stamina,” said Garcia. “I shouldn’t have to train to lose weight. You train to get better. I can do that now. Boxing is a grueling sport, so you have to find time to have fun. I’m doing that again, and I know that no one can touch me once I’m happy.”

By the time he meets Benavidez (27-1-1, 18 KOs), the older brother of super middleweight contender David Benavidez, Garcia will have been off longer than 18 months.  But judging by social media, Garcia used his hiatus to indulge plentifully.  He started his own reality TV series called The Garcia Family Business, came out with a slick clothing line, and opened barbershops to go along with a nifty house with a swimming pool and luxury cars.  

“I feel like this rest I had really made me better. It gave me time to think, gave me time to heal. And I feel boxing is more mental than physical,” he told Boxing Junkie. “You gotta be mentally 100 percent fresh and strong. You can be in shape, but if you feel mentally tired, then it’s going to show in the ring.”

For Benavidez, all the talk Garcia is sprouting about feeling rejuvenated sends chills down his bones.  If Garcia loses, life in the ring becomes convoluted. After all, he says he cannot make the 147 pounds, so common sense says a loss to Benavidez, who isn’t a bad fighter but not on Garcia’s level, lands Garcia in nowhere land. Garcia surely cannot move up in a higher weight class and expect to dominate. Better yet, no one wants to see Garcia, who is truly likable, reduced to a whipping boy for up-and-coming prospects. 

No option but to impress

“I’ve been fighting at the highest level for the last ten years. It’s only right as a human that you would get a little mentally tired. I needed a break so that I could miss boxing,” Garcia said.   “I knew that once I returned to the gym motivated and missing the sport, nobody could beat Danny Garcia,” he said.  When I’m happy, I’m a dangerous man.”

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