The world of boxing got into a super Saturday, as Danny Garcia downed Jose Benavidez Jr.
The super welterweight contest was the main event from the Barclay Center in Brooklyn. The card aired live on Showtime.
Garcia scored a decision victory over Benavidez, as the two-division champion returned with a powerful win.
“I did take a break going through mental things, things went dark, I went through anxiety, deep depression, just trying to be strong,” said a visibly emotional Garcia. “It was the pressure of life, being a good dad, just letting it out right now, because it was all stuck inside. It rained on me for a year and a half and the only way to do better was to fight again. I’m a fighter. If you battle anxiety and depression, you can get out of it, that’s what I did today. I fought.”
Philadelphia’s Garcia (37-3, 21 KOs) has become a staple at Barclays Center ever since headlining the arena’s first boxing event in 2012, and his return on Saturday night against Benavidez (27-2-1, 18 KOs), saw him pick up his seventh victory in Brooklyn.
After runs as a world champion at 147 and 140 pounds, Garcia debuted at 154 pounds after a nearly 20-month layoff. Known as a counterpunching expert, Garcia went on the attack early and often, targeting Benavidez’s body on his way to landing a career-high of 153 body shots according to CompuBox. Garcia’s superior hand and foot speed left Benavidez trailing him for much of the night, looking to land right hands over Garcia’s vaunted left hook.
In the co-main event, Turkish Olympian Ali Eren Demirezen (17-1, 12 KOs) scored a career-best victory via a unanimous decision (97-93 twice, 96-94) over Polish star and Brooklyn fan-favorite Adam Kownacki (20-3, 15 KOs) after 10 rounds of heavyweight action.
In the telecast opener, unbeaten rising star Gary Antuanne Russell (16-0, 16 KOs) delivered a sixth-round TKO (:50) over former two-division Rances Barthelemy (29-2-1, 15 KOs) in their super lightweight clash to keep his perfect knockout streak intact.
Russell landed a clean leaping right hook that dropped Barthelemy early in the round, and while Barthelemy was able to get to his feet, referee Shada Murdaugh waived off the action, drawing boisterous complaints from Barthelemy, his corner and the crowd in attendance.