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Danny Garcia says he’ll show off his talent on Feb.17

Image: Danny Garcia says he’ll show off his talent on Feb.17

By Allan Fox: Danny ‘Swift’ Garcia (33-1, 19 KOs) says he’s ready to show the fans why he’s one of the best fighters in the welterweight division on February 17th in his fight against Brandon ‘Bam Bam’ Rios (34-3-1 25 KOs) on Showtime at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino, Events Center, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

(Photo credit: Chet Susslin/SHOWTIME)

Garcia’s decision to fight Rios instead of Shawn Porter or Errol Spence Jr. suggests that he and his management have some concerns whether he has the talent to win those kinds of fights. Garcia wouldn’t be fighting a shop warn depleted fighter like 31-year-old Rios if he thought he had the ability to beat Spence and/or Porter. When you get a guy that is fighting this level of opposition in Rios, it tells you something about them.

Garcia, 29, has had 11 months to rest up since losing to WBA welterweight champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman by a 12 round split decision on March 4th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. What’s strange about Garcia taking a year off from the sport is he didn’t have an injury excuse the way that Thurman has.

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Garcia didn’t get hurt in the Thurman fight. He just chose to take the year off for the heck of it. With Thurman, he had elbow injury that required surgery, and he’s been out of action ever since their March 4th match on Showtime Boxing. Thurman will be back fighting again on May 19th. Garcia didn’t need to take a year off. That was not a smart thing for Garcia to do, because fighters have short careers as it is. But in the case of the top-level guys, they’re not able to stay at the same level for a long period except in rare cases.

Garcia never proved that he was a great fighter at 147. He got handed an easy fight against Robert ‘The Ghost’ Guerrero to win his vacant WBC welterweight title in January 2016. Garcia didn’t have to fight someone that could give him problems like Shawn Porter or Errol Spence Jr. to win the WBC title. Anyway, Garcia’s title is gone now after he was beaten by Thurman.

”I feel rejuvenated. My body feels fresh,” Garcia said about his year layoff from the sport. “I learned from the Keith Thurman fight not to leave anything in the hands of the judges. It was a close fight that could have gone either way. I have to go for the kill, so it is what it is,” Garcia said.

Garcia is not real knockout puncher when it comes to fighting better opposition. He stops the lesser fighters and the guys with weak chins like Amir Khan and Rod Salka, but he doesn’t knockout the guys with good punch resistance and/or talent like Thurman, Lamont Peterson, Mauricio Herrera and Lucas Matthysse.

Garcia should arguably have another 2 losses on his resume to Peterson and Herrera. Garcia’s fights against those 2 were close enough to go either way. Garcia got the win, but he could have just as well have lost the fights. The scoring was in his favor.

”I’m going to take it one fight at a time so I can get back to where I belong,” Garcia said. “Once you’re a champion, you’re always a champion. On February 17 I’m going to show everyone why I’m one of the best fighters in the world.”

This is going to be a really tough fight for Garcia unless he has some secret strategy up his sleeves to neutralize Rios’ pressure like he did with the Matthysse fight. Garcia used these 5 strategies to beat Matthysse:

• Frequent low blows – this worked because the referee Tony Weeks wasn’t enforcing the rules against low blows until the 12th round. By that point in the fight, Matthysse had been pretty worn down with the low blows and it no longer mattered that the referee finally took a point away. He had let Garcia get away with the low blows all throughout the fight during the important rounds

• Jabbing

• Movement

• Clinching

• Shoving – Garcia did some nice shoving of Matthysse when he would get close to him. We’ll see if Garcia uses this strategy to keep Rios from crowding him on February 17th. Rios is more of an inside pressure fighter than Matthysse, so it could be interesting to see if there’s pushing off used by Garcia to try negating the pressure.

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“I’ve been preparing for everything. I’ve been working on boxing and brawling; it’ll just depend how I feel when the fight starts. I’m going to be ready for 12 rounds regardless,” Garcia said.

Rios only knows how to pressure his opponents. Rios hasn’t changed his fighting style as we saw in his comeback fight against Aaron Herrera last June. Rios pressured Herrera continuously until stopping him in round 7. In Rios’ fight before that, he was stopped on a body shot by Tim Bradley in November 2015. Rios didn’t look like he was in the best of shape for that fight, but the way that Bradley was fighting, he would have likely lost to him still anyway.

Rios has never been a great fighter to begin with. He’s more of a blue-collar type of fighter, who does well against limited opposition like Herrera and Mike Alvarado. Rios has very few solid wins in the last 6 years of his career. Looking at Rios’ resume, he should have lost to Diego Chaves and Richard Abril. Once you remove those names from the win column for Rios, the only guys he’s beaten 2012 is Aaron Herrera and Mike Alvarado. Rios is a contender level fighter, but not a championship level guy.

We’ll have to see if Rios has the talent to wear down Garcia with him coming from a loss and a 1-year layoff. This might be a lesson for Garcia not to take long breaks from boxing. Choosing to fight a pressure fighter like Rios in his first fight back might not be the smartest thing for Garcia to have done. It would have been wiser if he’s fought someone a little easier than Rios.

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