Johnny Wilds, ESPN Boxing Insider, Special to NYFIGHTS



Johnny Wilds, ESPN Boxing Insider,  Special to NYFIGHTS


Danny ‘Swift’ Garcia (33-1 19 KOs) vs. Brandon ‘Bam Bam’ RIos (34-3-1 25 KOs)

Date: Saturday, Feb 17th

Location: Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas, NV.  

TV: Showtime 10PM EST/7PM PST


Opening Odds:* Current Odds:* Total Rounds

Garcia -6000              Garcia -2800   9,5 Over   -155

Garcia -2800 Rios   +1300 9.5 Under +135

* Odds courtesy of William Hill, Las Vegas


Here's a look at where the money is going from Vegas bookmakers, along with opinions from boxing experts, trainers and my prediction for the fight.


Line movement:

At William Hill US, senior trader Adam Pullen opened the fight with Garcia -6000/+1600 now -2800/+1300. Virtually all money and tickets on the dog, which with a fight priced like this, it’s not at all shocking,” said Pullen.  

At The Westgate, Las Vegas I spoke to Jeff Sherman Race and Sportsbook Manager, and he posted the fight on Tuesday with Garcia -2000 and Rios +1000.  “We don’t have any action thus far on the fight,” said Sherman.


The Panel:


  • Evan Young (boxing sharp): “I have a sense Rios is a bit recharged and got himself in good shape for his second bout back since his one sided stoppage loss to Tim Bradley in 2015. Danny Garcia is a hard hitting, counter punching welterweight who is a former champion and a legitimate top 5 fighter in his division. I think Garcia is too fresh and is overall a bigger and better fighter than Rios. However, Garcia is not a hard charging pressure fighter so he will likely allow Rios to press forward while picking his spots. I expect a strong effort from Rios but it won’t be enough. But, he keeps a tight guard and despite TKO loss to aggressive grinder Tim Bradley, Rios has a good chin. I’m expecting a Garcia win that likely goes the full route.  My thinking is that we will see scores in the neighborhood of 118-110 for Garcia.”
  • Stephen “Breadman” Edwards (boxing trainer): “Rios is made to order for DSG.  Expect a bad beating and mercy stoppage.”
  • Marcos Figueroa (boxing sharp): “Danny Garcia's cherry picking tour continues. There was a time when Rios would've been a live dog in this fight. Unfortunately that time was about 8 years ago. Danny Garcia late TKO or UD.”
  • Colin Morrison (boxing sharp): “Brandon Rios knows this is his last chance to get into title contention. For that reason I expect him to be as good as he can be and trainer Robert Garcia will have him well prepared. Despite this I can't see past a clear win for Danny Garcia. I think Rios will give a good account of himself but will lose a clear UD to the younger, fresher Garcia.”
  • John “Iceman” Scully (boxing trainer): “Stylistically I think it is a good fight but it may be coming a couple years after it would be at its most action-packed and competitive. Rios is going to push him and make him work hard but I think Garcia has somewhat underrated boxing skills and that, along with his keep-you-honest punching power, will see him to victory over the distance.”
  • Abraham Gonzalez (boxing sharp): “I really believe we are in for a good fight while it lasts. Bam Bam will be going “all in” as he knows this may possibly be the last “main event” he gets if he doesn't win. Both will bang throughout the fight back and forth but I think at the end, Garcia wins by stoppage. Garcia by TKO in 8.”
  • Eric Bradley (boxing trainer): “Garcia uses the ring wisely like in the Lucas M fight. He’ll stick, move, change the angles then attack hard in spots for the victory.”
  • Luke Chapman (boxing sharp): “Both guys coming off a similar layoff, Garcia off his first loss and Rios with his third trainer change in as many fights (though Leary has been in the camp before) makes things interesting. Garcia having been at the top and clearly outboxed at his last outing, does he still have the hunger? Battle-worn Rios hasn't scaled the same heights at welter and even retired in recent times, what does he have left? I'm picking Garcia here by a wide unanimous decision.”
  • Joshua Stabile (boxing sharp): “Garcia on points.  Garcia is significantly better technically.  Rios has a good beard and will likely go the distance but he will be outclassed as he is against any top 5 type fighter.  I am seeing -2000 / +900, not a good enough price on either side for me..”

Tale of the Tape:

Brandon Rios Tale of The Tape Danny Garcia
34 Wins 33
3 Lost 1
25 KOs 18
1 Draws 0
38 Total Bouts 34
66% KO% 53%
5'9″ Height 5'9″
27″ Reach 69″
Orthodox Stance Orthodox
Oxnard, California, USA Nationality Philadelphia, PA, USA
April 29th, 1986 Date of Birth March 20th, 1988


Garcia: Fighting out of Philadelphia, PA 29 year old Garcia makes his return to the ring after his first professional loss last March to Keith Thurman by SD. He is a former two division champion and former 140 LB unified champion. Garcia is a talented fighter and even though he only sports a 56% KO average, his relentless pressure wears his opponents down.  His chin is iron and has never been down or been badly hurt in a fight.  He is trained by his father Angel Garcia and while Danny is a soft spoken outside the ring, his father is the absolute converse and usually has more to say than his son about his upcoming fights.  Danny doesn’t do many bad things in the ring and isn’t wildly adored by fickle boxing fans but, simply put, he is a very good fighter and will prove tough for just about anyone in the 147 LB welterweight division.


Rios: The 31-year-old fighting out of Oxnard, CA via Lubbock, TX is making his second return to the ring after nearly a 19 month layoff.  The layoff came after his stunning KO loss to not so hard hitting Timothy Bradley in November of 2015.  He parted ways with long time trainer and friend Robert Garcia and made his return to the ring in June of 2017 with 7th round KO over Angel Herrera and put in motion a reunion with the aforementioned Robert Garcia.  Garcia mentioned he would only take Bam Bam back if he showed a better commitment to his conditioning after fights and not ballooning up to the reported 190 LB’s he was before the Bradley fight.  Rios has good power as evident by 66% KO average.  His only losses have come against Mike Alvarado, Manny Pacquiao and, as mentioned, Timothy Bradley.  He is your consummate brawler that will keep coming and coming until he can land his money shot or break his opponents will.


Who will win?

The trainers and sharps didn’t waver and are picking Garcia by an 9-0 margin.  There is a reason he is over a 20-1 favorite.  Garcia wants to show the world the loss to Thurman was just a hiccup and nothing would satisfy him more than a KO over Rios.  I don’t disagree with the panel above- but I do think this fight isn’t 20-1.  Rios is reunited with longtime friend and trainer Robert Garcia.  Also, I was at SuperFly 1 and saw him in attendance a few rows in front of me.  I can share he was nowhere near the past ballooning in weight he did in the past.  He looked very good and was in great spirits.  The big question for me is, did the past wars and draining of weight do too much damage to him or was the 19th month layoff just what the doctor ordered?


Pick: Pass but a small lean to Rios just on value!