Danny Garcia stopped Brandon Rios with a right hand in the ninth round Saturday night in their WBC welterweight world title elimination bout. Photos by Chris Farina, Stephanie Trapp and Ryan Hafey.
Garcia (34-1, 20 KOs) beat Rios (34-4-1, 25 KOs) at Mandalay Bay Events Center to set up a potential rematch against WBC and WBA champion Keith Thurman or a fight against IBF champion Errol Spence Jr.
Garcia fought for the first time since losing the WBC title in a unification fight with Thurman in March.
"I felt the ring rust a little bit in the beginning," the Philadelphia fighter said. "He's a good inside fighter and he was giving me some good uppercuts. He came to fight. I came to box, and I did that. I came to bang, and I gave the fans what they wanted — a knockout."
Rios was able to get back on his feet, but staggered toward referee Kenny Bayless, who waved off the fight at the 2:25 mark of the round.
"I'm mad," Rios said. "I don't like going out like that. I'm a warrior, I got back up and I wanted to continue. I guess the corner stopped it but I'm mad. I'm mad because I got up still. I'm a warrior. I'm still in the game. I didn't think he did much to hurt me."
Garcia, from Philadelphia, was the world champion for six years dating to his win over Hall of Famer Erik Morales in 2012 through the March loss. Rios, from Oxnard, California, is a former lightweight champion.
David Benavidez (20-0, 17 KOs) defended his WBC super middleweight title for the first time in a 12-round unanimous decision over Ronald Gavril (18-3, 14 KOs). The judges scored it 120-108, 120-108 and 119-109. The fight was a rematch of last September's bout in which Benavidez won the world title.
Benavidez, from Phoenix, landed 315 punches to Gavril's 176 and connected on 41 percent of his power shots.
"I knew he was going to come out aggressive," Benavidez said. "I knew I could jab and box him all day. When I saw the opening I took it. I didn't knock him out though. He's a tough son of a gun."
In an undercard IBF 147-pound title eliminator between two welterweight contenders, Yordenis Ugas (21-3, 10 KOs) stopped Ray Robinson (24-3, 12 KOs) in the seventh.