Danny Garcia will end a year-plus long ring absence with a fight at a new weight.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that a July 30 date is penciled in for Philadelphia’s Garcia to make his junior middleweight debut, which will come versus former title challenger Jose Benavidez Jr. The fight will headline a Showtime card from Barclays Center in Brooklyn, where Garcia has fought on eight previous occasions including the building’s first ever boxing event in October 2012.
ESPN.com boxing insider Mike Coppinger was the first to reveal the news, via Twitter.
Garcia (36-3, 21KOs) has not fought since a twelve-round points loss to unified welterweight titlist Errol Spence (28-0, 22KOs) in December 2020. The fight marked his second straight failed bid at a second welterweight title reign, making a move up in weight all but imminent.
Garcia previously held the WBC welterweight title for more than a year before losing to then-unbeaten WBA champ Keith Thurman in their March 2017 unification bout at Barclays Center. The bout set the record at the time for biggest attendance and live gate for a boxing event which was since surpassed by the May 28 Showtime Pay-Per-View event headlined by Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis’ sixth-round knockout of Rolando Romero.
Prior to the Spence fight, Garcia made his eighth Barclays appearance in a January 2020 points win over Ivan Redkach. The 34-year-old Philly native of Puerto Rican descent previously served as the lineal/WBC/WBA junior welterweight champion.
An attempt to conquer a third weight division comes with his showdown with Benavidez (27-1-1, 18KOs), the older brother to former two-time WBC super middleweight titlist David Benavidez (26-0, 23KOs). The 30-year-old Phoenix fights at junior middleweight or heavier for the second straight time after previously campaigning at junior welterweight and welterweight.
In his most recent bout, Benavidez was held to a ten-round, majority draw with Francisco Emanuel Torres last November 13 in Phoenix. The show was headlined by younger brother David who stopped Kyrone Davis in the seventh round of a super middleweight bout.
For the older Benavidez, it was the first fight since his lone career title fight when he extended WBO welterweight titlist Terence Crawford (38-0, 29KOs) into the 12th round before being stopped in their October 2018 title fight on the road in Omaha, Nebraska. The opportunity came as the third fight of his comeback that began earlier in 2018 after being out of the ring for more than a year to recover from a gunshot wound just above his right knee while walking his dog on a random August 2016 night in Phoenix.
Benavidez also previously held an interim title in the 140-pound division from December 2014-May 2015 before permanently moving up in weight.
The July 30 card is the first confirmed Showtime event since revealing its spring/early summer schedule of shows from March 26 through July 9. The addition of this card gives the network three straight months of airing at least two Showtime Championship Boxing cards on its main network.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox