Danny Garcia 34 (20 KOs)-1 (0 KO)-0 against Brandon Rios 34 (25 KOs)-4 (2 KOs)-1 was not the fight that the boxing public were clamouring for, and the result was what was expected with a 9th round knockout victory for Garcia but the fight itself was at least entertaining.
Rios applied the obvious game plan of coming forward and trying to back Garcia up to the ropes so he could use his hooks and uppercuts on the inside, and to a point it worked. There were very few points in the fight that Garcia held the centre of the ring for an extended period of time, and when Rios used his jab, even just pawing it out he did find success most notably in the 3rd round. With all this being said however Garcia while not looking totally relaxed was never buzzed or caught out of shape, and did slip and slide on the ropes causing shots to fly over or to the side of his head, and there was only a handful of rounds where Rios was putting up a strong case for taking the points. There were moments where Garica’s boxing skills shone throwing mean body shots and counters off the ropes, and although Garcia isn’t a traditionally slick fleet footed fighter he has great distance and timing, which came to a head in round 9. Rios failed to move off the centre line after Garcia threw the jab, and a straight right hand that followed sent Rios crashing to the floor.
Rios argued with the ref who called it off after Rios made it to his feet, but with him staggering around there was only going to be one winner. This fight puts Rios in quite a difficult position, in reality he’s never going to seriously trouble the upper echelons of the division, and after being in so many wars it is perhaps the time to hang the gloves up. But after this fight where Rios performed better than many expected and now being affiliated with Al Haymon and PBC there are good lucrative fights out there for Bam Bam. Fights with fringe top ten welterweights such as Andre Berto or Adrien Broner would be high entertainment if not totally high class affairs.
As for Garcia this was a fight he was heavily favoured to win and helps him shake some ring rust off after the long layoff following the Keith Thurman fight. Now he holds the WBC number 2 position putting him second in line for a rematch against Thurman after previous Thurman victim Shawn Porter. It seems as though a cycle of welterweight fights seems to be repeating and while other fighters such as Errol Spence, Jeff Horn and new welterweight Terrance Crawford might look to get in on the action, 2018 and 2019 looks promising for some high class boxing at 147 pounds.
On the undercard American Super Middleweight David Benavidez 20 (17 KOs)-0-0 retains his undefeated record in a lopsided unanimous points decision victory in a rematch against Ronald Gavril 18 (14 KOs)-3 (0 KOs)-0 to retain his WBC Super Middleweight title.