Danny Garcia Beats Rios

Photo by Al Applerose

Danny Garcia Defeats a Stubborn Brandon Rios


By Derek Smith

Danny Garcia loaded up on a counter-right hand that took advantage of Brandon Rio's lazy left jab and knocked him out in front of a few thousand fans at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas on Saturday. 

Garcia (34-1-0 20KOs) had utilized a right hand several times during the fight, either as a lead, or as a counter. This time it was different. This time it was set-up. Garcia anticipating the jab, and having observed Rio's tendency to bring his jab back low, slipped the jab, and unloaded an overhand right counter that put Rios flat on his back.  Rios beat the count, a tribute to his heart and conditioning. On wobbly legs, and on command, Rios walked toward referee Kenny Bayless, who had seen enough, and waved the bout off with 45 seconds left in the ninth round.  

More fighter than artist, Rios (34-4-1 25 KOs) a former world lightweight champion, is a veteran of many ring wars. Of his three losses prior to the Garcia fight, one was avenged, one was a unanimous decision loss to Manny Pacquiao, and the other over two years ago, a knockout loss to Timothy Bradley.  Many ring insiders considered Rios to be just this side of washed-up in spite of his stellar record. They cited his style of fighting, and ring wear. They said his long layoff after the Bradley loss was indicative of waning desire.

They misjudged Brandon Rios. 

At the time of the ninth round knockout, Rios would have needed a knockout himself to have won, but he never stopped trying. 

Rios tested Garcia with body punches early in the fight.  The Philadelphian hadn't fought since he lost his share of the welterweight title to current welterweight champion Keith Thurman. The ring rust had accumulated, so all Garcia needed to end his hiatus was the offer of a title shot, in the form of a 12 round elimination bout.

His timing was good and he relaxed letting Rios set the pace.

"I wanted to stay in front of him and slip to the side," said Garcia, " I wanted to keep the fight off the ropes and in the middle of the ring." 

"When it was in the middle of the ring I started to land good shots, in combinations," explained Garcia. Thought of as a left hooker by many, Garcia exploited this by offering up a variety of right hands that ran the gamut from uppercuts to overhand rights.

Rio's pace and pressure caused Garcia problems that he was able to neutralize with his footwork and in-fighting ability. As his ring rust wore off, his tactile sense of where the ring ropes were reappeared. The fight was being made in earnest at ring center, and Brandon Rios was eating right hands. He had been hurt several times during rounds seven and eight. In round nine Garcia landed his windshield breaking overhand right laying Rios out. As Rios said regretfully after the fight, "I got lazy with my jab."

Welterweight champion Keith Thurman was at ringside making his presence

known, fueling speculation that Thurman-Garcia 2.0 could be in the offing for late summer, or early fall. Shawn Porter was there selling his wolf tickets, "I'll huff and puff and blow your house down …for some PPV money." 

Garcia is a hot commodity, and a viable alternative to Spence, or Crawford. Rios has a future, taking comfort with the fact that in the world of sports, and entertainment, name recognition is half the battle.