Danny Garcia makes his return to the ring after a 19-month layoff in his home away from home in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center. He will be jumping up a weight division and making his debut at 154 lbs. against another fighter making a jump in weight in Jose Benavidez, Jr.
Both men have been at the top or close to the top of their respective divisions for long stretches. However, both are seemingly on the back-9 of their careers. It might be cliché to say, but this is a crossroads fight.
Let’s look at the Garcia vs. Benavidez Jr odds and betting picks I like for this card.
Danny Garcia vs. Jose Benavidez Jr.
Date: Saturday, July 22
Main card: 9 p.m. ET / 2 a.m. BST
Main event ringwalks (approx): 11 p.m. ET / 4 a.m. BST
The last time we saw the former two-division titlist Danny Garcia (36-3, 21 KOs) was in December of 2020, when he lost a lopsided decision to Errol Spence. How much rust will he have tonight?
Long ago, Garcia was once considered to be headed to the top of many pound-for-pound lists after upset victories over Amir Khan and Lucas Matthysse at 140 lbs. However, his run since that time has been uninspired. He first looked questionable in a disputable decision over Mauricio Herrera in Puerto Rico. When he moved up to 147 lbs., the losses to the upper echelon of the PBC welterweights mounted as he lost to the aforementioned Errol Spence, Keith Thurman, and Shawn Porter. Tonight he takes on another middle-of-the-run former contender in Jose Benavidez.
Benavidez (27-1, 18 KOs) is a former welterweight title challenger. He is the brother of heralded 168-pound champ David Benavidez. His only fight in the elite level was in 2018 against Terence Crawford, where he was stopped in the 12th round. Since then, he has had just one fight, which occurred at the end of last year.
To me, this is a classic return fight for Garcia to get him re-inserted in the conversation with the PBC 154-pounders. “Swift” will probably not have success at that level, but he at least will be in a fun fight come Saturday.
When Garcia is in a firefight, he usually can slug his way to a victory with his no-look left hook – the same punch he’s shown in the past against Khan, Matthysse, and Eric Morales. However, two divisions up, will that hook have the same effect?
Benavidez was once a promising prospect, but his troubles outside the ring played a role in his subpar descent from a top up-and-comer. He was shot in 2016. After his fight with Crawford in 2018, it took him 3 years before he returned to the ring.
I think this will be a firefight. Garcia is the more proven fighter with the better chin and better punch. Put that together with Benavidez only having fought once in 3 years, and I will take “Swift” by stoppage.
Pick: Garcia by KO, TKO, or DQ (+175) at DraftKings
Take a flier on Adam Kownacki
On the undercard, there is a pretty under-the-radar heavyweight fight. Adam Kownacki (20-2, 15 KOs) takes on Ali Eren Demirezen (16-1, 12 KOs). Kownacki has been stopped twice in his last two fights, both against Robert Helenius. However, I think Kownacki is at home and looks in shape (for once) for this one.
Getting plus odds in this fight in Brooklyn to me is a decent risk for a solid payoff.
Pick: Kownacki to win (+140) at DraftKings
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