This Saturday night (Feb. 17, 2018), former two-weight world champion Danny “Swift” Garcia (33-1, 19 KOs) will make his return to action, as he’s set to take on ex-WBA Lightweight titleholder Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios (34-3-1, 25 KOs) in the main event of a Showtime televised card.
Garcia, the man many consider to be the favorite heading into this bout, will be coming off of a somewhat long layoff, as he hasn’t competed since suffering the first loss of his professional career to unified Welterweight champion Keith Thurman last March at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Because of the layoff and the fact that he’ll be returning after a loss for the first time, there are some questions regarding Garcia, but he remains one of the best in the world regardless, as he owns impressive victories over high-caliber fighters like Amir Khan, Zab Judah, Lucas Matthysse, Lamont Peterson, Paulie Malignaggi and Robert Guerrero.
Stylistically, Garcia is likely the better boxer in this matchup. He has a wide arsenal of attacks, but he also possesses some fight-ending power, as 19 of his 33 professional victories have come by way of knockout. And while he doesn’t typically rely on foot movement, Swift mixes it up well, putting together combinations that include damaging body shots and a strong left hook.
Rios, on the other hand, hasn’t competed since scoring a knockout victory over Aaron Herrera last June, but aside from that, he hasn’t been very active. Prior to his victory over Herrera, he hadn’t fought since being stopped by Timothy Bradley in November 2015 and he contemplated retirement after the bout, which raises some questions about his motivation, and what kind of form he’ll show up in on fight night.
Regadless, Rios has made a name for himself by being a true fighter. Known as a pressure fighter, he rarely takes a step backwards, isn’t afraid of a brawl, and has an extremely durable chin, as he’s only been stopped once in 38 professional fights. He has, however, taken a lot of damage, which may be catching up with him at this stage of his career.
Bam Bam has displayed formidable punching power at times throughout his career, but it hasn’t appeared to follow him up to Welterweight. His defense has also been questionable due to the fact that he sometimes has a tendency to square up and abandon footwork and head movement.
To win this fight, Rios will have to turn the bout into a brawl, put pressure on Garcia and hope to land big shots. Swift, however, is likely the biggest puncher he’s ever faced, and I feel as if he’s too smart and skillful to abandon a game plan and be dragged into a fire fight.
Rios is a tough and durable veteran, but he’s always seemed to fall short against the big names, and I feel as if that’ll be the case on Saturday night. The amount of damage he’s taken also concerns me, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Garcia score a stoppage in the later rounds.
If not, expect Swift to score a one-sided decision victory.
Header photo by Stephanie Trapp/Showtime