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Danny Garcia vs. Brandon Rios close to being finalized for Feb.17

By Dan Ambrose: A fight between former world champions Danny ‘Swift’ Garcia and Brandon ‘Bam Bam’ Rios (34-3-1, 25 KOs) is reportedly close to being done for February 17 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The co-feature bout will be a rematch between WBC super middleweight champion David Benavidez and Ronald Gavril.

Garcia-Rios is not a great fight in terms of the best facing the best. IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. has already offered Danny Garcia a title shot, which he hasn’t shown any interest in taking for some reason. It looks as if Garcia would rather fight the arguably past his best Rios rather than Spence.

Danny Garcia vs. Brandon Rios is a good little match-up between 2 decent welterweights that aren’t going anywhere in the division. The top of the division is well represented now with Errol Spence and Keith Thurman holding down titles. I’m not counting the WBO champion Jeff Horn, because he’s likely going to lose his title in his next title defense against Terence Crawford. Horn and Crawford are both promoted by Top Rank. Crawford will likely never face Rios or Garcia due to the politics of boxing, so he’s not relevant when talking about those guys.

Garcia (33-1, 19 KOs) 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 will have been out of the ring for 11 months by the time he fights Rios in February. If Garcia keeps fighting in this pattern, he’ll have maybe 3 or 4 more fights before his career as a top fighter is finished.

It’s too bad Garcia isn’t fighting 2 to 3 times a year, but that’s his decision to be an inactive fighter.

Garcia lost his WBC 147 lb. title in his loss to Thurman. This was the WBC strap that Garcia won the easy way in facing an arguably over-the-hill Robert ‘The Ghost’ Guerrero for the vacant WBC belt last year on January 23. The World Boxing Council let Garcia fight Guerrero for their WBC belt rather than forcing Garcia to fight the higher ranked Shawn Porter. It was a controversial move on the WBC’s part to give Guerrero a fight for the vacant WBC title over Porter. Garcia probably would have lost to Porter had he been forced to fight him for the vacant WBC 147 lb. title.

Garcia has been matched pretty carefully for the most part since his win over Lucas Matthysse in 2013. That was the high point of Garcia’s career, because he was expected to lose that fight in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans. Garcia’s best win since then came against Lamont Peterson in 2015, and he barely won that fight. Had Peterson started a little sooner with the pressure, he would have won the fight.
Rios, 31, has fought only once in the last 2 years. Rios came off 1 ½ year layoff recently to defeat journeyman Aaron Herrera by a 7th round knockout on June 11. Garcia has mostly been fighting weak opposition since the Matthysse fight. Garcia looks like his career is mainly managed in a business type of manner. There have been too many soft fights for Garcia and not enough tougher fights in this writer’s view.

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