The stakes have now been raised for the upcoming fight between two-division world champion Danny "Swift'' Garcia and former world champion Brandon "Bam Bam'' Rios.
That welterweight showdown was recently announced for Saturday, February 17 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
According to World Boxing Council President Mauricio Sulaiman, the sanctioning body has approved Garcia vs. Rios as a final eliminator for a mandatory world title shot.
At the moment, the WBC welterweight champion is Keith Thurman and he is scheduled to make a voluntary defense on a date in April, potentially against former champion Jessie Vargas.
The mandatory challenger is Shawn Porter, who knocked out Andre Berto in a final eliminator last year.
Porter will get the first mandatory crack at Thurman, and then the Garcia-Rios will get the second crack. The WBC had actually wanted Porter and Garcia to fight in a final eliminator last year, but there was very little interest from Garcia's camp.
Thurman won a twelve round split decision over Garcia last March to unify the WBC, WBA belts - but then underwent surgery for an elbow injury and was out of the ring for the remainder of the year.
"Champion Keith Thurman will return in a voluntary title defense, as he has recovered from his injury. Shawn Porter is the mandatory challenger, and Danny Garcia will fight Brandon Rios in a final elimination bout for the second mandatory due to the inactivity of Thurman," Sulaiman said.
For Garcia (33-1, 19 KOs), 10 of his last 14 opponents were world champions or former world champions. He's been out of the ring since the loss to Thurman.
In his last fight, Rios scored a TKO victory over Aaron Herrera on June 11. It was Rios' first bout under the Premier Boxing Champions banner after spending the majority of his career with Top Rank. Rios has reunited with longtime trainer Robert Garcia.