By Dan Ambrose: Trainer Robert Garcia says the February 17th fight between former world champions Danny ‘Swift’ Garcia (33-1, 19 KOs) and Brandon ‘Bam Bam] Rios (34-3-1, 25 KOs) is a 50-50 fight. Robert G. thinks the 31-year-old Rios has a real chance of beating Danny Garcia if he comes in shape for the fight.
Rios is the underdog for the fight, and he’ll stay that way all the way up to their contest next February.
Garcia vs. Rios will be televised on Showtime Boxing on February 17 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Garcia-Rios is presented by Premier Boxing Champions and Mayweather Promotions.
Despite facing a former WBA lightweight world champion in Rios, Danny Garcia has been taking a lot of flak from boxing fans on social media. The fans are calling Garcia a ‘Cherry picker’ for selecting Rios, who obviously has seen better days in his career. Garcia-Rios is viewed by boxing fans as another one of Garcia’s cherry-picking ‘business fights,’ in which he faces a guy that was at one time a world class level fighter, but who not is well past his prime and is just one of the many non-relevant fighters in the welterweight division in Rios.
“Brandon is going to be ready,” said Robert Garcia to ES News Reporting, in talking about the Danny Garcia fight. “He’s got to be in good shape for this fight. It is [a 50-50 fight]. People might think Brandon is done because he got stopped [by Timothy Bradley],” said Robert Garcia.
I don’t think it’s going to matter what type of shape Rios comes into the fight with Garcia. He’s still going to be over-matched in this contest. Rios has never beaten a top level guy during his career. The wins that Rios has accumulated during his 13-year pro career were against flawed fighter that were recently beaten or about to turn into journeyman level guys. Rios has never a talented guy. His best win of his career was against Mike Alvarado, and he’s never shown to be a quality fighter. Alvarado was briefly a paper champion during his career, but he was exposed by the likes of Ruslan Provodnikov, Juan Manuel Marquez and Rios.
Here’s Rios’ best wins of his career:
• Mike Alvarado
• Diego Chaves – a controversial 9th round disqualification win in 2014. Rios was losing the fight at the time the referee disqualified Chaves for throwing a phantom elbow in round 9
• Richard Abril – a highly controversial 12 round split decision win in April 2014. A lot of boxing fans saw Abril winning that fight. Boxing News 24 scored the fight to Abril by 11 rounds to 1. Rios was dominated badly by Abril in that fight
• John Murray – Murray was soon after stopped in the 10th round by Anthony Crolla, which took a lot of the shine away from Rios’ 11th round knockout win over him
• Miguel Acosta – Rios stopped Acosta in the 10th round in February 2011. Acosta lost 5 out of his last 6 fights following his defeat Rios. The way that Acosta was quickly exposed as a journeyman level fighter took away from Rios’ accomplishment in beating him. At the time that Rios fought Acosta in 2011, a lot of boxing fans thought Acosta was a good fighter. It was only later when Acosta was repeatedly beaten by contenders, he was shown to be a limited talent
• Anthony Peterson
• Omro Lowther
• Jorge Luis Teron
• Manuel Perez
The reality is Rios has never beaten a good fighter during his career. Rios’ best win at lightweight was against Miguel Acosta, who is a journeyman level fighter. Rios’ best wins at 147 were against a poorly trained Mike Alvarado in January 2015, and Diego Chaves. As I mentioned, Rios’ disqualification win over Chaves was an odd one. Rios was losing the fight in the 9th round against Chavez with only 1 round to go in their 10 round contest. The referee then suddenly stopped the fight, saying that Chaves had elbowed Rios.
”He’s not heavy,” said Robert G about Rios. “Brandon is going to be in good shape. If he does his weight like he did in his last fight, he has a great shot of beating Danny Garcia, and I think he will beat Danny Garcia,” said Robert Garcia.
I don’t think Rios is going to be the fighter that he was in the past. Even the Rios that beat Alvarado, Acosta, Antillon and Abril would likely lose to Danny Garcia. Rios was always a flawed, who leads with his face and is easy to hit. Even if it were possible for his trainer Robert G. to bring him back to the form that he had during his best years, he’s still likely more than an Arturo Gatti type of brawler. That kind of fighting style of not going to work for Rios against the best fighters in the welterweight division, like Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman, Terence Crawford, Jeff Horn or Shawn Porter. I would pick an over-the-hill Manny Pacquiao to beat Rios at this point. Rios lost a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision to Pacquiao 4 years ago in November 2013. Pacquiao clearly isn’t the same fighter now that he was back then, but I think he would have an easy time beating Rios.
Some boxing fans think Rios has rejuvenated himself because of how good he looked in stopping journeyman Aaron Herrera in the 7th round last June. Herrera didn’t throw hardly any punches in the fight. He was just there soaking up punishment for 7 rounds. That wasn’t a real fight. That was a terrible mismatch with Rios facing a guy that was standing in front of him for 7 rounds, taking shots and not throwing anything back at him. Had that been a live fighter like Spence, Porter, Thurman or Danny Garcia, Rios would have likely received a boxing lesson by them. Rios was there to be hit in that fight, but Herrera was incapable of throwing punches.
”He’s back,” said Robert G. about Rios. We’re going to do our best to bring back Brandon Rios so he can fight like everybody was expecting for him; the Brandon that beat Urbano Antillon, the Brandon that beat [Anthony] Peterson, that beat [Miguel] Acosta, and that beat [Mike] Alvarado the first time. That’s the Brandon that he needs to be,” said Robert G.
As I said already, even if Rios does get back to the fighter that beat those guys, he’s still going to lose badly to Danny Garcia. The fighters that Robert mentions aren’t/weren’t good fighters. Anthony Peterson has never done anything in his career. Peterson, the brother of former light welterweight champion Lamont Peterson, has never done anything in his career. Anthony hasn’t faced a quality fighter since his loss to Rios 7 years ago. Peterson hasn’t lost since his defeat to Rios, but he’s also been content to face 2nd tier opposition in his 7 fights in the last 7 years of his career. Urbano Antillon had already been beaten by Miguel Acosta and Humberto Soto at the time that he fought Rios in 2011. You can’t get excited about Rios beating Antillon, because he wasn’t one of the best fighters in the lightweight division at the time that fight took place.
”He’s so motivated,” said Robert G. in talking about Rios being excited about the Danny Garcia fight opportunity. ”Not 1 day goes by where he doesn’t text me, saying, ‘I’m so excited. I’m going to beat this dude, and we’re going to do it again, and we’re going to the top again.’ So, that means a lot. That says a lot,” said Robert Garcia.
The only thing you can really say about the Garcia-Rios fight is it’s the biggest fight for Rios since his 9th round knockout loss to Tim Bradley Jr. in November 2015. That’s the only thing. It’s a big fight for a guy that left his best behind 1,800 yesterday’s ago. The last time Rios looked good was in his first fight with Mike Alvarado in October 2012. It’s been largely all downhill for Rios since then.
Danny Garcia has been out of the ring for the past 9 months since his 12 round split decision loss to WBA welterweight champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman on March 4 of this year.
Garcia says he needed to take a break from boxing due to him being a champion at 140 for 6 years. The truth is, Danny Garcia was a champion for only 3 years, from 2012 to 2015. It’s unclear where Garcia gets the 6 years stuff. He vacated his WBA and WBC light welterweight titles. He was put in the perfect situation in 2016 to fight for the vacant World Boxing Council 147 lb. title against an over-the-hill Robert ‘The Ghost’ Guerrero. Garcia, not surprisingly, beat Guerrero to become the WBC welterweight champion in January of last year. Garcia then subsequently fought Samuel Vargas in a non-title fight in November of last year, and easily stopped him in the 7th. Garcia’s WBC welterweight title was not on the line for that fight. In Garcia’s next match, he fought Keith Thurman in a unification fight and lost to him by a 12 round split decision. Since that defeat, Garcia hasn’t fought.
“I was the reigning champion for six years, so I needed the rest,” said Garcia. “I’m ready to kick off the year in style and take over the welterweight division.”
Garcia is probably not going to “take over the welterweight division” like he says he is. What Garcia will likely do is beat Rios without any problems in their welterweight clash. The win for Garcia will keep him in line for a rematch with WBA/WBC 147 lb. champion Thurman. Garcia is ranked #2 WBA, #2 WBC at welterweight. He’s going to get a title shot against Thurman regardless of who he beats. That’s a fight that Thurman really wants, perhaps more than any other fight. Thurman frequently talks of wanting to fight Garcia again. The guy that Thurman doesn’t seem to want to talk about is IBF welterweight champion Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence Jr. Thurman doesn’t seem at all interested in facing Spence, and you can’t blame him. I don’t see Danny Garcia beating Keith Thurman in a rematch. No matter how many times those 2 fight each other, I see Thurman winning every time. Garcia is a good fighter, but I rate him below Thurman, Spence, Porter, and Terence Crawford. Jeff Horn would be a very tough fight for Garcia.
There’s a chance Garcia would beat Horn, but it would still be a grueling fighting for him. I don’t see Danny Garcia ever becoming the best welterweight in the division. He’s shown no desire to fight Spence. Even if Garcia were to beat Thurman, he couldn’t call himself the best fighter in the 147 lb. division if he continues to not want to mix it up with Spence. Garcia was given a chance to fight Spence for his IBF welterweight title, but he chose not to take the fight. Garcia instead is facing Rios rather than fighting Spence. That tells you a lot about Danny Garcia’s mindset in what type of fights he’s willing and not willing to take. Garcia won’t be recognized as the best welterweight in the division if he beats Rios and Thurman. Spence will still be there at the top, and if Garcia isn’t willing to fight him, he’ll be viewed as the No.2 welterweight in the division.
Danny Garcia’s best wins of his 10-year pro career have come against these fighters:
• Erik Morales – past his prime at the time Garcia fought him
• Zab Judah – past his best
• Kendall Holt – past his best
• Amir Khan
• Lucas Matthysse
• Paulie Malignaggi – past his best
• Lamont Peterson
• Mauricio Herrera – Garcia’s win over Herrera was a controversial win
• Robert Guerrero – past his best
• Nate Campbell – past his best
WBC super middleweight champion David “El Bandera Roja” Benavidez will be making a defense of his WBC 168 lb. title in the co-feature bout on the Garcia vs. Rios fight card on Showtime Boxing in facing #5 WBC Ronald Gavril in a rematch. Benavidez beat Gavril by a 12 round split decision last September in a fight for the vacant WBC 168 lb. title. That was not an exciting fight to watch. Benavidez looked sluggish and tired throughout the fight. Gavril, 31, was able to take advantage of Benavidez gassing out in the final 3 rounds to make it close at the end. Benavidez still landed the better shots and outworked Gavril, but it was close enough to justify a rematch. Benavidez will need to improve for him to keep from getting outworked by Gavril and beaten.