NEW YORK – Angel Garcia again questioned Jose Benavidez Jr.’s skill level Thursday.
Danny Garcia’s father and trainer told Benavidez that the former welterweight contender “got no skills, papa” during a press conference at Barclays Center to promote the Garcia-Benavidez card Saturday night in Brooklyn. Angel Garcia also attacked Benavidez’s level of opposition.
“You fought 27 people that nobody knows about,” Angel Garcia yelled, “nobody knows about.”
Earlier in the press conference, Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza pointed out that Garcia (36-3, 21 KOs) has fought 15 current or former world champions during a 14-year pro career in which the Philadelphia native has won world titles in the junior welterweight and welterweight divisions. Unbeaten WBO champ Terence Crawford stopped Benavidez (27-1-1, 18 KOs) in the 12th round of Benavidez’s only welterweight championship bout, but Benavidez beat Mauricio Herrera decisively in a 12-round fight for the WBA interim 140-pound championship in December 2014.
In March 2014, Garcia struggled on his way to winning a maligned majority decision over Herrera, who retired with a 24-9 record, including nine knockouts. The 30-year-old Benavidez mentioned Garcia’s controversial victory over Herrera when Angel Garcia criticized his level of opposition.
The Phoenix native eviscerated one of the three opponents to whom Garcia has lost as well.
“You guys lost to f------ [Shawn] Porter. Porter’s garbage,” Benavidez said. “What happened? Look, look, check this out – enough of the talking and let’s do the fight on Saturday. What about what Herrera did to you guys? What happened with the Herrera fight?”
Porter out-pointed Garcia unanimously in their 12-round, 147-pound title fight in September 2018 at Barclays Center. Akron’s Porter won the then-vacant WBC belt when he beat Garcia, which led to Porter’s championship unification fight a year later against Errol Spence Jr.
The 34-year-old Porter retired immediately after his 10th-round, technical-knockout loss to Crawford (38-0, 29 KOs) last November 20 at Mandalay Bay’s Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas. Porter (31-4-1, 17 KOs) was a two-time welterweight champion, though, and lost only to four fighters who were undefeated when they beat Porter in 147-pound championship fights – Crawford, Spence, Keith Thurman and Kell Brook.
Besides Porter, only Spence (28-0, 22 KOs) and Thurman (30-1, 22 KOs, 1 NC) have beaten Garcia, who hasn’t been stopped inside the distance in 39 professional fights.
The 34-year-old Garcia is listed as an 8-1 favorite versus Benavidez, at least in part because Benavidez settled for a 10-round majority draw with Argentinean underdog Francisco Torres (17-4-1, 5 KOs) in his most recent fight.
That bout was contested at the middleweight limit of 160 pounds November 13 at Footprint Center in Phoenix. Garcia will make his 154-pound debut versus Benavidez.
Showtime will televise Garcia-Benavidez as the 12-round main event of a three-fight telecast scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. ET.
Brooklyn’s Adam Kownacki (20-2, 15 KOs) will try to end a two-fight losing streak and re-establish himself as a heavyweight contender against Turkey’s Ali Eren Demirezen (16-1, 12 KOs) in Showtime’s 10-round co-feature. The opener of the broadcast will feature hard-hitting junior welterweight contender Gary Antuanne Russell (15-0, 15 KOs), a southpaw from Capitol Heights, Maryland who will encounter Cuban veteran Rances Barthelemy (29-1-1, 15 KOs, 1 NC) in a 10-rounder.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.