Nothing Jose Benavidez Jr. noticed while studying Danny Garcia’s fight films indicated to him that Garcia would move nearly as much as he did during their 12-round fight last month at Barclays Center.
Garcia used his legs throughout their bout, which mostly made it difficult for Benavidez to land flush punches on the former junior welterweight and welterweight champion. Benavidez believes he did as much as he could to cut off the ring, but Garcia beat Benavidez decisively on two scorecards in the Philadelphia’s native’s 154-pound debut (117-111, 116-112, 114-114).
“I did, but like I said, I mean, he was running and he kept moving,” Benavidez said. “I was being a little cautious because, like I said, I didn’t wanna get f------ caught, you know. It happened with Crawford. Me and Crawford, last time I was doing good and then I get careless and I got caught. So, I mean, I wasn’t trying to make that happen again.
“But I felt like I was – I didn’t get tired at all, whatsoever. I had a great f------- camp. You know, I had a great camp, I didn’t get tired at all. He was gassing out, but it was just the point of him, you know, trying to fight. He was just running and moving, running and moving. I wanted to sit there and bang, but I mean, it is what it is.”
Terence Crawford caught Benavidez with a right uppercut late in the 12th round of their fight for Crawford’s WBO welterweight title almost four years ago. That shot sent Benavidez to the canvas and eventually led to a stoppage with just 18 seconds remaining in the final round of an October 2018 bout at CHI Health Center in Crawford’s hometown of Omaha, Nebraska.
Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs) and Garcia (37-3, 21 KOs) are the only opponents who’ve beaten Benavidez during his 12-year professional career.
The 30-year-old Benavidez (27-2-1, 18 KOs) said his right leg, which was damaged during an unsolved shooting in August 2016, didn’t trouble him against Garcia. It noticeably hindered him in the later rounds of his fight with Crawford, yet it didn’t limit the Phoenix native’s mobility as he tried to chase down Garcia during their “Showtime Championship Boxing” main event.
Benavidez nevertheless had to use his legs more than he anticipated against a shorter opponent whose power Benavidez claimed he didn’t feel at all.
“He moved a lot more,” Benavidez said. “I thought he was gonna sit there and bang with me because that’s what I’ve seen in previous fights. But just he fought the fight he had to fight, I guess. Take nothing from him. But I didn’t feel like he hurt me with any punches at all. I was blocking mostly all of them.”
CompuBox credited Garcia for landing 116 more punches than Benavidez (233-of-746 to 117-of-600). According to CompuBox, Garcia connected on more power punches (153-of-292 to 99-of-301) and jabs (80-of-454 to 18-of-299).
“I was hurting his body,” Benavidez said. “I was landing a lot of jabs. I was landing a lot of short, right uppercuts, counters. I honestly thought that I did enough to win that fight. But again, I mean, the judges saw it different and you have to keep working hard. It was a good experience.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.