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Danny Garcia vs. Brandon Rios official for Feb.17

By Dan Ambrose: The welterweight match-up between Danny Garcia (33-1, 19 KOs) and Brandon Rios (34-3-1, 25 KOs) is now official for February 17 for Las Vegas, Nevada, according to ESPN.

Boxing fans haven’t taken the news of the 29-year-old Danny Garcia wanting to fight Rios instead of Errol Spence Jr. too well.

The fans see Garcia as ‘cherry-picking’ by selecting a fighter that is no longer relevant in Rios and signing for that fight rather than taking a world title shot against Spence for his IBF 147 lb. strap. The criticism that Garcia has dealt with by fans is he’s stopped facing quality fighters on a consistent basis since his win Lucas Matthysse in 2013.

Garcia was at the top of the sport after beating Matthysse. He had the full respect from boxing fans. Instead of capitalizing on it, Garcia backed off and went on a long milking stage of taking weak opponents in Rod Salka, Mauricio Herrera, Paulie Malignaggi, Samuel Vargas, Robert Guerrero and Lamont Peterson.

The only tough opponent Garcia has faced in the last 4 years of his career is Keith Thurman, and he lost to him earlier this year by a 12 round split decision on March 4. The fans hoped that Garcia had turned over a new leaf after the Thurman fight, and that he would be facing only quality guys from that point. Sadly, Garcia is back to facing weak opposition in taking on Rios, whose career has been on the slide cine he lost his WBA lightweight title in 2011.

The winner of Garcia-Rios will be in position to fight WBA/WBC welterweight champion Keith Thurman. He’s now considered the money guy that the welterweight contenders are vying for in the division. Garcia already lost to Thurman earlier this year in March in losing a 12 round split decision.

The 31-year-old Brandon Rios is trying to revive his career. He won his last fight against journeyman Aaron Herrera by a 7th round knockout last summer. Rios had major problems before that in losses to Tim Bradley, Manny Pacquiao and Mike Alvarado. Rios had also looked bad in his fight against Diego Chaves in 2014.

Rios looked good in his last fight against Herrera, but that was against an opponent that wasn’t fighting back. Pretty much anyone would look against Herrera. In Rios’ last real fight against a quality opponent in Tim Bradley, he was dominated and halted in the 9th round in November 2015. Rios has fought just once since then in beating Herrera on June 11.

This is an interesting fight between 2 well-known former world champions. Neither of them are considered the best any longer, but they’re still good basic fighters. Garcia vs. Rios is more of a business type of fight in which they’re fighting each other due to them being more recognizable than most of the fighters in the 147 lb. division. Garcia, 28, could have fought for a world title against IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr., but he opted to fight Rios.

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