Danny Garcia has been there as a two-division world champion and was difficult to stop as a top welterweight. The 147-pound division, very well known as dominant, has been Garcia’s home for a majority of fights with 14 world champions.
Garcia has never turned back a challenge and is associated with names that are synonymous with boxing. Philadelphia born and raised, and still a boxing icon there, Garcia never backed away from Amir Khan, Lamont Peterson, Keith Thurman, or Shawn Porter.
He has been in the ring with Errol Spence Jr, who owns a majority of the alphabet and sanctioned title belts in the division, the WBO champion is Terence Crawford and, to many, the best pound-for-pound fighter at 147.
But now Garcia, after a 19-month hiatus from the ring, is moving up at 154, and for the first time at that weight, will highlight a Saturday evening Showtime Championship Boxing televised card at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
And that first test will come against Jose Benavidez Jr, who in his own right is a formidable opponent. The two are, in boxing terms, known as the friendly adversaries, with respect and admiration for each other. Benavidez Jr, of Phoenix, Arizona is also aware a win would propel himself towards that bigger opportunity.
But the boxing world will be watching Garcia Saturday night, not to mention a long layoff from the ring after his loss to Spence in December 2020, losing two of the welterweight titles.
With confidence in his voice, and with a facial expression of anticipation, Garcia, at a final pre-fight press conference on Thursday, left no doubt this fight is pinpointing to become a three-division champion.
“It feels good to be back,” he said. “I’m back because I love to fight. I’m a fighter and I love boxing. I knew once I took that break, that I’d come back at 154 pounds. A lot of people don’t know how I’ve been squeezing my body down. I think people will be surprised about how strong I am.”
And he’s right. There has never been a doubt about strength. Garcia, 34-years old, (36-3, 21 KO’s) has a 53.5 percent knockout ratio and that speaks volumes, though two of three blemishes on the record came against Porter and Thurman.
Those fights ended in unanimous and split decisions, Thurman is the fight that was controversial and close. Some say it should have gone to Garcia, thus a knockout is the route Garcia wants to take during his debut at 154.
“I want to chase a new dream. I want to be a three-division champion. I have the skill and I have the will and I’m not going to let anyone take it away from me,” he said.
“It feels good to be back. I’m back because I love to fight. I’m a fighter and I love boxing. I knew once I took that break, that I’d come back at 154 pounds. A lot of people don’t know how I’ve been squeezing my body down. I think people will be surprised about how strong I am.”
And this time that goal is feeling strong at a higher weight, but to Garcia it’s more natural after battling rigorous camps to make the contracted weight at 154. Though, this new division is also dominated with outstanding talent, including Jamel Charlo the unified champion.
“I want to chase a new dream,” he has said numerous times leading to this fight, “I want to be a three-division champion. I have the skill and I have the will and I’m not going to let anyone take it away from me.”
To which Benavidez Jr. said, and with deep respect to his opponent, “This is going to be a good fight. It’s going to be fireworks. I respect Danny Garcia, but his dad talks too much. I’m thankful for the opportunity, but we’re going to let the fists talk.”
Angel, Garcia’s dad, has always said as he did again Thursday, “We don’t fear nobody. We never turn down any fights. This isn’t anything new to us.”
However, 154 is new to Danny Garcia after going 12-3 against world champions. Barclays Center is home as a contingent of fans will once again travel up the Turnpike to see him.
“I’m going to go out there and have fun and do what I do best,” Garcia said. “I’m going to find a way. It’s going to be the same thing you always see. I’m going to get this ‘W.”
Rich Mancuso: [email protected] Facebook.com Watch “Sports with Rich” live on Tuesday Nights at 10pm EST on The SLG Network/Youtube with Robert Rizzo Available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify under The SLG Network.