Boxing News and Views’ is back this week as always to give his weekly preview – this week lets look at his Danny Garcia vs Brandon Rios prediction.
It will be nearly a year since Danny Garcia’s unbeaten record stumbled down in the shape of a split decision defeat to Keith Thurman.
And when he steps into the Mandalay Bay ring, it will be veteran puncher Brandon Rios who offers him the type of contest to lift his spirits to begin 2018.
The former two division world champion begins life back in the contender status, and to some extent he is now the underdog in a division he entered two years ago as a certain champion.
But with Thurman, Errol Spence Jr and as many expect to be Terence Crawford, are – and in the case of Crawford, ‘will’ – the other belt holders, and none of those fighters would be considered as the underdogs if they were to face Garcia 33-1(19KO’s) anytime soon.
But the pick of his comeback opponent has been hit with the type of dissatisfaction that highlights the decline of the once fan favourite, Rios 34-3-1(25KO’s).
His first two bouts with Mike Alvarado were scintillating, and in his Lightweight days Rios was a bull. But a convincing defeat to Manny Pacquiao on points and a stoppage loss to Timothy Bradley has seen his stock drop.
Now the former Lightweight bully is entering last chance saloon in a career that has been littered by hard fights.
This has every making of an enjoyable bout, but while Garcia’s own leaky defence will make this competitive, the final result will never be in doubt.
After a rough start, Rios can find some success as Garcia starts looking to force a stoppage, but once Garcia begins to concentrate on his boxing again, he will take the final stages of the contest to take a near shut-out unanimous decision.
Yordenis Ugas impressed in the early stages of his career best win over Thomas Dulorme, but his decline in the second half of the contest ensured the final result would be disputed.
The fight was memorable and many will hope the same can be said at the conclusion of his clash with the aptly named Ray Robinson 24-2(12KO’s).
Robinson was unlucky to be matched with Brad Solomon and Shawn Porter early in his career, but he has since returned with a resume fit for any fighter closing in on world-class.
Ray Narh and Santos Benavidez were the usual suspects for prospects, and his one-sided beating of Breidis Prescott last time out suggests he is ready for the next step.
Ugas 20-3(9KO’s) can provide that, but he also has never been beaten by a fighter without an unbeaten record. But all of Jamal James, Bryant Perrella and Dulorme were stunned by the potential bogeyman of the Welterweight divisions.
Ugas has the skill set to win this one, but his conditioning was a worry last time out, and if he declines again, then the pick is for Robinson to surge from behind and claim a narrow but deserved win on the scorecards.
The only world title fight of the evening has the makings of stealing the show when David Benavidez and Ronald Gavril go head-to-head once again.
The first was a stormer, when Benavidez 19-0(17KO’s) was crowned the WBC Super Middleweight champion with a split decision win over Gavril.
It was meant to be the crowning of Benavidez in fine fashion, but it was far from that, and the immediate rematch highlights just what the Arizona man thought of his own performance.
Gavril 18-2(14KO’s) can force a tough battle once again, but this time around, the champion will show his class, and his power, becoming the first to halt Gavril. In control of the contest, Benavidez comes out on top in the 8th.
Ladarius Miller 14-1(4KO’s) is coming off a solid win over Jamel Herring, and can make this back-to-back notable wins when he edges world-class veteran Argenis Mendez 24-5-1(12KO’s) on points.
(Photo courtesy of Stephanie Trapp/SHOWTIME)