A decent looking card takes place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn this Saturday night, and the main event sees former two-weight world champion, Danny Garcia move up to 154lbs to take on Jose Banavidez over 12 rounds.
SHOWTIME televise Garcia vs Benavidez Jr in the USA.
Garcia (36-3, 21 KOs) hasn’t been seen since the back end of 2020, where he was clearly outscored by Errol Spence Jr in a bid for the WBC and IBF belts at welterweight, and he will hope to be rejuvenated for his return this weekend.
‘Swift’ burst onto the scene in 2012, firstly winning the vacant WBC super lightweight title with a points win over the legendary Erik Morales, and he then unified by ironing out Amir Khan in four rounds to add the WBA ‘super’ crown.
Four successful defences followed before a move to welterweight, and the Philadelphian captured the WBC title with a points win over Robert Guerrero in 2016, but then lost his unbeaten record while attempting to unify, losing via split decision to Keith Thurman in March 2017.
A bid to regain the WBC crown failed on the cards against Shawn Porter a year later, and after two lower key wins, he then lost to Spence, and subsequently took a sabbatical from the sport.
Benavidez Jr (27-1-1, 1 KOs8) has lost his way slightly since building a 27 fight unbeaten record.
The 30-year-old older brother of David Benavidez worked his way into world title contention, but was dropped in the final round and thrashed on the cards against Terence Crawford for the WBO welterweight title in October 2018.
Benavidez Jr has only fought once since, and was held to a draw in November last year by the unheralded Francisco Torres, who was halted by Hamzah Sheeraz earlier this month.
Prediction: Garcia should be better for his layoff, but will need to shake the ring rust first. Once he does that, he should take a clear decision win.
Kownacki returns against Demirezen
On the undercard, Polish heavyweight Adam Kownacki returns from back-to-back stoppage defeats, and he meets Turkey’s Ali Eren Demirezen over a scheduled ten rounds.
Kownacki (20-2, 15 KOs), who was linked with a clash with Derek Chisora, was being touted for a world title tilt, until he met Robert Helenius in March 2020.
The Finn halted him in four rounds, and a rematch produced the same result, but this time he was beaten up, and stopped in six last October.
Demirezen (16-1, 12 KOs) has only been beaten once, and that was a ten round points defeat to Efe Ajagba in 2019.
The 32-year-old has won five in a row since, the last an eight round points win over the veteran Kevin Johnson in May.
Prediction: Kownacki will need to be in shape for this one, and if he is, I favour him to take a points win.
Russell battles Barthelemy
Gary Antuanne Russell has had things all his own way to date as a professional, but he faces a good looking test against former lightweight world champion, Rances Barthelemy over ten at super lightweight.
Russell (15-0, 15 KOs) has stopped all of his opposition so far, his last a final round win over former world champion Viktor Postol in February.
Barthelemy (29-1-1, 15 KOs) has gone between lightweight and super lightweight, and the Cuban has won two since drawing with Robert Easter in a 135 pound world title fight in April 2019.
Prediction: Russell can extend his knockout streak with a late win here.
Sergiy Derevyanchenko (13-4, 10 KOs) makes his first appearance of 2022, and has lost his last three, but should get back to winning ways with a stoppage win in his middleweight ten rounder against Joshua Conley (17-3-1, 11 KOs).
In the remaining ten rounders, Junior Younan (16-0-1, 10 KOs) should take a points win against Dauren Yeleussinov (10-1-1, 9 KOs) at super middleweight.
Former unified world champion Julian Williams (27-3-1, 16 KOs) is also on the card in a middleweight contest with his opponent still to be confirmed.
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Three super welterweight eight rounders should see Vito Mielnicki Jr (11-1, 7 KOs) beat Jimmy Williams (18-8-2, 6 KOs) inside schedule, LeShawn Rodriquez (13-0, 10 KOs) defeat Ismael Villarreal (11-0, 7 KOs), and Ricky Lopez (21-5-1, 6 KOs) can win on the cards in his third meeting against Joe Perez (16-6-3, 10 KOs).
In the only six rounder on the bill, Atif Oberlton (5-0, 5 KOs) will be looking to extend his undefeated streak at light heavyweight with an opponent to be named.
In four rounders, Breeon Carothers (2-0 2 KOs) should beat Marquese Steward (1-2) at super featherweight, and Miguel Roman (1-0) should overcome debutant Marcus Redd at super bantamweight on the cards.
Dwyke Flemmings Jr (1-0, 1 KO) should stop Angelo Thompson (0-3) at super welterweight.