On Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, former two-division world champion Danny Garcia is looking for a much bigger fight after a sensational knockout of Brandon Rios in their WBC welterweight title eliminator.
It was Garcia's first fight since dropping a close twelve round split-decision to Keith Thurman in their WBC, WBA welterweight unification in March of 2017 from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Garcia (34-1, 20 KOs) closed the show in the ninth round, after landing a crushing right hand to drop Rios right on his back. Rios beat the count, but was clearly wobbly on his feet, forcing referee Kenny Bayless to halt the contest at 2:25 of the ninth.
Garcia admits he felt rusty in the contest, at least at the start, but eventually found his groove when he began to box and land sharp punches.
"I felt the ring rust a little bit in the beginning," said Garcia.
"He's a good inside fighter and he was giving me some good uppercuts. I felt good, it was a good nine rounds. He came to fight. I came to box, I did that. I came to bang, and I gave the fans what they wanted - a knockout.
"I just noticed when I was getting my punches off he was standing right in front of me and I just let it go. As soon as I got the fight in the middle of the ring where I wanted I landed good shots. I was just letting my hands go and the punch landed."
Now Garcia wants a rematch with Thurman, who is scheduled to make a voluntary defense on May 19th at the Barclays Center. Thurman's opponent has yet to be determined.
"The loss was tough. I have the mindset of a winner," Garcia said. "I hate losing. I took it like a true champion and I bounced back like a true champion.
"I would love the rematch with Keith Thurman. It's on him. Whenever he's ready we'll fight."