Danny Garcia vs Brandon Rios
Former light welterweight, and welterweight world champion, Danny Garcia, takes on former lightweight world champion, Brandon Rios. Garcia bounces back from a tight defeat to Keith Thurman, 11 months earlier, whilst Rios, having boxed once, since his latest defeat, a defeat which very briefly pushed him into retirement, though the promises he is taking the sport extremely seriously, and his trainer, Robert Garcia backs this up.
Rios is an underdog, but that does not discourage him from beginning the fight as the aggressor, jumping in the front foot, trying to take the fight to the favourite, demand his respect.
It is clear that we see a better Rios than we've seen in years, his output is high, he's focused, and he has a game plan. Despite Rios's relentlessness, it is Garcia who lands with the powerful, clean scoring shots through the first couple of rounds, as his defence, timing serves him well.
Rios surprises many fans in rounds 3 when he has more success, lands a clean right hand bang on the chin of Garcia, easily soaking up big shots from the younger fighter, and sustaining his high paced pressure. Rios continues to pour forward in rounds 4 and 5, he is able to make it tough for Garcia, but Garcia is the one who uses good defence to discount some activity on the other side, and it is him who lands the clean, solid counters on a brave, very well prepared Rios.
Having thrown a lot of punches, and taken a lot of crushing blows, Rios is far from finished as he has some great success against Garcia in round 6, attacking the body, showing some defence himself, and landing a couple of eye catching punches.
Enduring a mini crisis, Danny Garcia proves his toughness, adaptability as he makes Rios's rally, short lived, punishing a tiring Rios, using his skill, and boxing with aggressive, but also controlled tactics. Rios continues to plough forward in the scheduled second half, is not hurt, but is hit with some massive punches, takes a lot of punishment, and seems to be fading.
Garcia finishes the fight in the ninth, in fine form, landing a devastating right hand, timed and executed perfectly, sending Rios down like a ton of bricks and landing on his back. Bravely, on warrior instinct, Rios rises up, as the referee, much to the dislike of some who know it is over, counts, but Rios is edging out the battle of being able to stand up, and Kenny Bayless does the right thing, a second before Robert Garcia appears, trying to stop the fight himself, concerned for the safety of his fighter.
Though competitive for most part, before the stoppage, overall, it was not a close fight, as Garcia was in a handy lead on all 3 scorecards, 78-74 on one scorecard, 79-73, on the other.
Rios loses, but gains a lot of respect from the boxing world, Garcia, a former champion who proves he may well become a champion again, having made a great statement, has a harsh message for the cowardly critics of Brandon Rios, as he defends his brave opponent at the post fight press conference, Rios also, commended by the outspoken father of Danny Garcia, which makes it clear how much respect Rios managed to gain from his opponent and his team.
After the fight, in the post fight interview, fellow former world champion, also winning at a similar level having lost only narrowly at the top, Shawn Porter, usually very humble, shocks everyone by confronting Garcia, aggravating him, making a fight between himself and Garcia, which was already a popular potential fight, even more interesting, fan friendly, and an even stronger possibility for the future, with them both being roughly the same distance from another world title shot, each with a lot to gain from victory over the other.