Danny Garcia and Brandon Rios in Los Angeles (Photo: Chris Farina – Mayweather Promotions)
By Chris Robinson
On Tuesday afternoon, inside of the Conga Room at L.A. Live in Los Angeles, two division world champion Danny “Swift” Garcia (33-1, 19 KO’s) came face to face with former world champion Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios (34-3-1, 25 KO’s) for the first time ahead of their scheduled Feb. 17 showdown. Garcia and Rios will square off on SHOWTIME in a Premier Boxing Champions telecast that will take place from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nev.
Also present for the press conference were WBC super middleweight champion David Benavidez (19-0, 17 KO’s) and top contender Ronald Gavril (18-2, 14 KO’s), who will square off in a co-feature rematch of their thrilling world title bout this past September in Las Vegas. Benavidez defeated Gavril by split-decision and it’s a rematch many are clamoring for.
Rios and Garcia were once looked at as possible rivals when they both were at 140 pounds, but the fight never materialized. With Garcia returning from a March defeat to Keith Thurman, now appears to be the perfect time.
“This is a classic fight of a boxer puncher versus a brawler,” Garcia explained. “I’m going to be prepared for everything and start 2018 off right. I have to be the fighter I’ve always been. I’m healthy and strong and ready to fight. I’m putting the loss to Keith Thurman behind me and moving forward. I have to focus on being Danny Garcia on February 17. I can’t press and try to do too much, I just have to get the win.”
Rios is one of the more aggressive fighters in the sport and plans to attack come Feb. 17.
“Everybody knows my style,” siad Rios. “I’m not here to dance, I’m coming to fight. I’m going in there with my heart out to show the world that I’m still one of the best out there. I feel strong and I feel rejuvenated. My body needed some rest because all of my fights are wars. It took a toll on my body and now I feel as good as ever. I’m ready to show the world a different Brandon Rios.”
As for Benavidez vs. Gavril, it figures to be another excellent fight that will take place between them. The first match had several ebb and flows, with Gavril, a heavy underdog, even scoring a knockdown in the 12th and final round. Both men have a desire to settle the score and that should lead to more fireworks.
“I have to make a statement on February 17,” Benavidez explained. “I’m leaving Mandalay Bay with the belt on my shoulder. I have to get the knockout and that’s what I’m looking to do.”
Gavril believes he won the first contest and is ready for another go with the younger champion.
“I want to thank David Benavidez for agreeing to fight me,” Gavril stated. “I thought that I won the first fight so I knew I wanted this immediately. I earned this rematch. I learned a lot from the first fight. I know what I have to do better this time. The strategy will be adjusted and I’ll work even harder in camp to be ready.”
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Chris Robinson can be reached at CRobinson@hustleboss.com