By Keith Idec
Danny Garcia has heard and read all about how his fight against Brandon Rios is supposed to amount to an easy night of work for him.
The last time Rios faced a top opponent, former two-division champion Timothy Bradley dominated him on the way to producing a ninth-round technical knockout. Garcia (33-1, 19 KOs) is still in his physical prime and is a bigger puncher than Bradley, thus he, too, is expected to stop Rios (34-3-1, 25 KOs).
The former WBC welterweight champion cannot simply approach their February 17 bout that way, though. Philadelphia’s Garcia is preparing as if he’ll encounter a motivated opponent desperate to upset an elite welterweight.
“I have to be ready,” Garcia told BoxingScene.com before a press conference Tuesday in Los Angeles to promote their fight. “I have to be ready a hundred percent, mentally and physically. Because for some reason, when people wake up to fight Danny Garcia, they wake up that day and fight. So I’ve gotta be ready.
“I’m expecting the best Brandon Rios I can go against. That’s how I’ve always done it in my career. I train hard for every fight like it’s a world title fight, like it’s a unification fight.”
That said, Garcia intends to prove why he is such a heavy favorite in a 12-round main event Showtime will televise from Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
“I’ve just gotta go in there and do what Danny Garcia does,” Garcia said. “Make adjustments, make him miss and make him pay. I’m the stronger guy, I’m the fresher guy, I’m the better boxer. I’m just a better fighter and I’m gonna show that that night.
“To be honest, I think I have to stop him. I have to stop him because if I don’t, then they could always say he went 12 rounds with Danny Garcia and that could lead him to another fight.”
Garcia, 29, will fight for the first time in nearly a year when he battles Rios. He hasn’t boxed since suffering the first defeat of his pro career – a 12-round split decision to Keith Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs, 1 NC) in their welterweight title unification fight March 4 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Rios, 31, has fought just once since Bradley battered him in November 2015. The former WBA lightweight champ knocked out Aaron Herrera (33-8-1, 22 KOs) in the seventh round of that June 11 fight in Lancaster, California.
“It’s a great fight,” Garcia said. “Mexico versus Puerto Rico. We’re both gonna come to fight. He has a lot to prove, I have a lot to prove. And I think it’s gonna show fight night for an exciting fight.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.