Brandon Rios has been one of my favorite fighters to watch over the past decade. He’s a born warrior. He fights with emotion and does his best to give fans their money’s worth. Even when over-matched, as he was against Manny Pacquiao, he fights hard in every round.
But I’m not thrilled to see him paired against Danny Garcia this weekend in Las Vegas. Rios is past his prime to be sure and even at his best, Garcia would have been a terrible matchup for him. Garcia is a very good counter puncher and an aggressive brawler like Rios is made to order for him.
This kind of match making is why I am not really a fan of Garcia. Garcia is a legitimate contender at welterweight. Rios is simply a hand-picked opponent, designed to make him look good, without putting him at risk.
Garcia’s last fight was a split-decision loss to Keith Thurman in March of last year. Garcia’s father and trainer, Angel, threw a temper tantrum after the verdict. But Angel Garcia is the boxing equivalent of the annoying Little League dad that everybody hates. He cannot view his own child objectively–which is, granted, hard for anybody. But then he makes a scene and embarrasses himself.
It was ridiculous that any of the three judges scored the fight for Garcia. The Garcia’s claim that “Danny made the fight” rings hollow when you take in account the fact that he actually threw 136 fewer punches than Thurman did.
Thurman was overly defensive in the second half of the fight. But Garcia was unable to take advantage of that fact–he ineffectually stalked Thurman around the ring, failing to get into position to attack. That is NOT effective aggression.
Garcia is a contender despite his father–not because of him. A skilled trainer would have told his fighter what to do to cut off the ring against Thurman, not simply waited until the end of the fight to bitch and moan.