Jose Benavidez Jr.: Victory over Danny Garcia ‘will put me back on top’

·3 min read

Jose Benavidez Jr. is calling this stage of his career 2.0 but it could be 3.0 or even 4.0. He’s had that many starts and stops.

The older brother of David Benavidez was shot in the leg in a much-publicized incident in August 2016, which permanently damaged the limb. He made a remarkable comeback in February 2018, stopping Frank Rojas.

Eight months later he gave a spirited effort but was stopped in 12 rounds by welterweight champ Terence Crawford, after which he left the sport once more for more three years to focus on his growing young family.

He made a second comeback last November, when he drew with Francisco Torres in his hometown of Phoenix.

And now the 30-year-old is scheduled to take on former two division titleholder Danny Garcia at 154 pounds on July 30 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, a fight he hopes will allow him to reclaim a place among his elite rivals.

“It’s going to be good,” Benavidez told Boxing Junkie. “It will put me back in the rankings, back on the top. If I beat Danny Garcia, people will say, ‘Oh, s—! He beat Danny Garcia!’ Danny Garcia fought [Errol] Spence, [Keith] Thurman, [Shawn] Porter, all these guys, and he did a good job.

“You’ll see it happen, you’ll see it.”

Benavidez (27-1-1, 18 KOs) said he took the post-Crawford break to spend time with his wife and daughters, whose ages are 10, 2 and four months. His full house took precedence over his career.

“Boxing will always be there,” he said, “but my daughter’s first steps only happen once.”

The hiatus also served another purpose: It reignited his love of the sport, which has been a central part of his life and that of his fighting family since he was a child.

He’s serious about the task at hand, a challenging fight against one of the biggest names in the sport on national television (Showtime). He’s also having fun.

“I’ve been doing this for so long that it was getting kind of boring,” he said. “Once you take a break you realize you have this love of boxing, love of fighting. And it makes it that much better than my family is here and behind me 110 percent.”

Benavidez didn’t love his performance against the underdog Torres in his most-recent comeback fight, having to settle for a majority draw.

He suggests you don’t read too much into that result. He said he tried too hard to knock out his opponent in front of his hometown fans, forsaking the basic fundamentals in the process. Thus, he gave Torres a chance to be competitive.

He said the fight with Garcia (36-3, 21 KOs) will be different.

He feels good physically. His leg will never be 100% but it’s as sturdy as it has felt since the shooting, in part because of yoga. He feels more comfortable at 154 pounds than he did at 147. He said he walks around between 170 and 180.

And he doesn’t plan to take off Garcia’s head. If that happens, great. If not, that’s fine too. The objective is to win.

“People ask me, ‘Do you plan to knock him out’?” Benavidez said. “My answer to that is I’m going to put a hell of a fight on. I’m going to do what I used to do, my basics, go back to that, improve on that. … I’m not going to be throwing wild punches.

“Trust me, though: When I find those good punches, they’re going to hurt him. And I don’t know if he will be able to take them or not. This is going to be a good one.”


Jose Benavidez Jr., Emanuel Torres fight to majority draw

Story originally appeared on Boxing Junkie