When comparing resumes from active boxers there are very few fighters that can claim to have better names on their record than Danny Garcia 33 (19 KOs)-1 (0 KOs)-0. The Philadelphian native has collected a number of big wins since he stepped onto the world stage against Amir Khan in 2012, with other notable fighters such as Erik Morales, Lamont Peterson, Lucas Matthysse, and Zab Judah. It is therefore somewhat unfortunate that at some points over the last three years Danny Garcia was not one of the most popular fighters among the boxing public to say the least. A cocktail of favourable decisions, an outspoken father and a clear drop in competition following Lamont Peterson did nothing to improve Garcia’s popularity. However in spite of this it is often easy to forget the boxing skill that Garcia possesses.
A type of fighter who can look on first glance as nothing special Garcia does the basics well and importantly knows his own limitations. While Garcia was never the most physically blessed with slow feet and average hand speed, he compensates for this with great timing and sense of distance. This was most on show in the Amir Khan fight, where Khan was caught as Garcia landed his trademark left hook. Though Garcia does counterpunch he doesn’t do it in a typical Floyd Mayweather or James Toney style in rolling or slipping the shots and then countering in the gap. Garcia instead uses his timing to punch with the opponent placing his chin in harm’s way to give himself a chance to land. Though this style of boxing does leave his chin exposed, Garcia’s experience in trading in the pocket combined with a very solid chin and tidy hooks has kept him safe, even in amongst some of the biggest hitters in the past five years.
Though Garcia is not known an ultra- slick picture perfect boxer against his opponent Brandon Rios he might as well be. Rios 34 (25 KOs)-3 (1 KO)-1, is a typical pressure fighter and has very limited boxing skills from range, sometimes pawing out a jab to the head or body but preferring to brawl in close. In this respect Rios is definitely a one dimensional fighter, and has found his level at a weight below against the likes of Mike Alvarado and Richar Abril relying on his size and chin. But after moving from long-time trainer Robert Garcia and recently being stopped by light punching Timothy Bradley it seems that Rios will have his hands full come Saturday.
In truth, Rios looks tailor made for Garcia who when he struggles, does so with movers. Come fight night Rios won’t pose this problem and will be wide open for shots on the way in and Garcia is very capable on mixing it on the inside if he has to. Garcia’s boxing skills will be most likely on show here, as he just simply outclasses Rios from the start landing power punches to head and body, often finishing combinations with that signature left hook. Rios could make the fight fun in the early goings attempting to rush Garcia and work on the inside, but very quickly class should tell and Garcia will take over. It will most likely end in whichever way Garcia will want it to, should he want to put on a boxing master class and win a lopsided points decision he will, but should Garcia want another highlight reel knockout he’ll most likely do it in the medium to late rounds as Rios succumbs to the body attack.
If Garcia does indeed win this fight it will get him WBC number two spot, earning him a fight against the winner of the rematch between Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter. While Garcia and certainly Rios hasn’t done nearly enough to earn a possible rematch against Thurman the prospect of seeing Garcia mixing it again amongst the elites is at least intriguing.
Also on the card unbeaten American David Benavidez 19 (17 KOs)-0-0 puts his WBC Super-Middleweight title on the line in a rematch against Ronald Gavril 18 (14 KOs)-2-0 in a fight that ended in a split decision victory for Benavidez last time out in September.