Danny Garcia vs. Brandon Rios – Results
By Dan Ambrose: Danny ‘Swift’ Garcia (34-1, 20 KOs) bounced back nicely from his previous defeat last year to destroy former lightweight belt holder Brandon ‘Bam Bam’ Rios (34-4-1, 25 KOs) by a vicious 1-punch knockout in the 9th round on Saturday night in a World Boxing Council welterweight title eliminator at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
(Photo credit: Stephanie Trapp/SHOWTIME)
Rios got back to his feet after the knockdown, but he was too hurt for the referee Kenny Bayless to allow the fight to be continued. The badly hurt Rios had to be helped back to his corner by Robert Garcia. Rios was out of it. That right hand that hit him in the head was a perfect punch by Garcia, who has power when he sits down on his punches. He’s not the class of Errol Spence in the power department, but he can punch well for the 147 lb. weight class. The right hand that Garcia landed would have knocked out a lot of fighters in the division. It took Garcia 9 rounds to land it though. If Garcia had fought Spence or Shawn Porter tonight, he might not have been still around by the 9th round even if all he did was run and hold.
The Garcia-Rios fight was televised on Showtime Boxing.
After the fight, #1 WBC contender Shawn Porter jumped into the ring and tried calling out Garcia, who has shown zero interest in wanting to fight him for some reason. The chances of Garcia fighting Porter are about zero. It’s not happening. Garcia wants to take easy fights until he gets his rematch with Keith Thurman. Showtime interviewer Jim Gray didn’t seem to like the idea of Porter calling Garcia out.
This was a showcase fight for Garcia like the previous show (mismatch) fights we’ve seen from him against the likes of Rod Salka, Samuel Vargas, Robert Guerrero, Paulie Malignaggi, Lamont Peterson, and Mauricio Herrera. Garcia’s management is very good to him by putting him in with those type of fighters and not matching him against the talented guys like Shawn Porter and Errol Spence Jr.
Garcia set the very slow Rios up with a perfect right hand counter that knocked Rios down on his back in the 9th. Rios was badly hurt. Referee Kenny Bayless stopped the fight and that was it for Rios.
Garcia was matched up with Rios to get the rust out from 11 months of inactivity. Unfortunately, you can argue Rios, 31, was brought in to lose in the way he did in order to make Garcia look good, and he definitely impress. The fight was a boxing clinic for Garcia with him moving constantly, nailing Rios with clean head and body shots, and tying him up to prevent him from getting his shots off. Much of the time, Rios would smother his own work by crowding Garcia and throwing punching from too close for him to get any real power on them.
Garcia landed 188 of 614 shots for a connect percentage of 31 percent. Those weren’t great numbers, but it reflects that many of the punches Garcia threw were with him being on the move. Garcia was rarely standing in place for any length of time against Rios, even though he could have easily stood and slugged it out without getting hurt. Rios was too slow and weak to do any damage to Garcia.
It’s been 7 years since Rios moved up in weight from the lightweight division, and he never carried his power up with him. He’s not a puncher at 140 or 147. He’s just a slow pressure fighter with the power of a lightweight with average power. There are some lightweights that can punch like Mikey Garcia. Rios never had that kind of power. Rios landed 109 of 605 shots for a connect percentage of 18. Rios threw almost as many punches as Garcia did, and that was mainly because he was constantly walking him down matching him punch for punch. Rios’ shots weren’t connecting with the same accuracy as Garcia unfortunately.
Rios was waking Garcia down the entire fight and eat shots and getting tied up. The referee Kenny Bayless was there in body only tonight. He wasn’t into enforcing the excessive clinching rule. Bayless let Garcia get away with his holding all night long without warning him to stop. Rios wasn’t even trying to fight out of the clinch, and that made Garcia hold even more. Good welterweights like Errol Spence Jr. and Shawn Porter aren’t easy to clinch excessively because they throw punches while they’re being held. If Garcia ever fought either of those guys, which is extremely to ever happen, he would be getting hit hard each time he tried to tie them up. But against Rios tonight, Garcia was able to hold him as much as he wanted without having to worry about him fighting through the clinch and continuing to throw punches.
Regardless of how bad he was over-matched, Rios fought well in rounds 5 and 6, and he appeared to fight well enough to win at least one of those rounds. As you would guess, Rios, 31, was not happy with all the holding and low blows that Garcia was doing in the fight. Garcia was throwing shots just below Rios’ gold belt line, and he was able to get away with it because referee Kenny Bayless wasn’t doing anything about it. Rios started roughing Garcia up out of frustration in the 5th and 6th rounds. This led to Garcia using more movement and more holding than he’d done previously. It wasn’t fun to watch for the boxing fans at the Mandalay Bay, as a lot of the fans were booing the lack of action.
Garcia boxed expertly in jabbing and countering Rios on the move. Rios landed some good shots in the 6th round, but he was walking into punches all night long.
Garcia says he wants a rematch with Keith Thurman. It’ll be up to Thurman if he wants to make that rematch this year. Thurman has been saying that he plans on fighting opposition ranked from 5 to beyond 10 in his two fights in 2018. He doesn’t want to fight a top contender because he’s coming off of elbow surgery. Garcia has been making comments about how he only lost to Thurman on paper in their fight last March, which was won by Thurman by a 12 round decision.