Former two-division champion Danny ‘Swift’ Garcia returned from an 11-month hiatus Saturday night with a bang — literally.
Garcia drilled Brandon Rios with a powerful counter right hand in the ninth round that sent Rios to the canvas, and although Rios got to his feet, referee Kenny Bayless didn’t like what he saw, and waved the fight off at 2:25 of the round.
With the victory before a nice crowd at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas and on Showtime, Garcia improved to 34-1 (20 KOs) by winning the WBC welterweight title eliminator, putting him in position to take on the champions of the 147-pound division, including undefeated champions Errol Spence and Keith Thurman.
“I felt the ring rust a little bit in the beginning,” Garcia said. “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.”
Rios, who had fought just once in more than two years, fell to 34-4-1 (25 KOs). Back with his old trainer Robert Garcia, Rios looked a bit slow early on and never seemed to really hurt Garcia, who went to the body often in the early rounds.
“I’m good. I’m mad,” said Rios. “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.”
As Garcia, who had not fought in 11 months, began to warm up and shake off the rust, he started to connect on several hard right hands, but Rios cut off the ring nicely and returned some hard uppercuts.
Garcia, as he showed in his split decision loss to Keith Thurman last March, was stronger in the second half of the fight, a nod to his superior conditioning.
Before the fight, a section-full of first responders to the deadly shooting on Oct. 1 that killed 58 people during a concert outside Mandalay Bay were honored.
Source: Bob Velin|| USA Today