Danny Garcia’s campaign for a world title in a third different weight class made an auspicious launch on Saturday night as he cruised to a dominant majority-decision win over José Benavidez Jr in his super welterweight debut at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.
The 34-year-old from North Philadelphia, a former unified champion at 140lbs who also won the WBC’s version of the title at 147lbs, made easy work of his taller, longer opponent, winning by scores of 116-112, 117-111 and (absurdly, in ringside judge Waleska Roldan’s view) 114-114.
The fight marked Garcia’s first outing since a unanimous-decision loss to Errol Spence Jr in December 2020, a span of nearly 20 months and the longest layoff of his career by some distance. Afterward, the former two-division champion became overcome by emotion while still in the ring as he opened up about the debilitating anxiety and mental-health struggles he’s endured since that setback.
“I did take a break going through mental things, things went dark, I went through anxiety, deep depression, just trying to be strong,” Garcia said, fighting through tears. “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.”