TWO-division world champion Danny Garcia 33-1 (19) and former world champion Brandon Rios 34-3-1 (25) faced off Thursday at the final press conference for their WBC welterweight world title eliminator this Saturday, February 17 at Mandalay Bay Events Centre, Las Vegas.
Garcia returns from a year long hiatus following a unification showdown with Keith Thurman, receiving his first career loss. While Rios, who once held a world title at lightweight, views Garcia as his way back into the big fights.
“I took a little under a year off just to enjoy my life. I’ve worked hard my whole life; I’ve been boxing for 20 years. I just wanted to be a regular person and let my mind rest, spend time with my daughter and enjoy some of my money,” Garcia said.
“I’m back now and I’ve been in camp for three months. I’m training hard. I feel great and I feel confident,” he added.
Rios has since re-joined the stable of veteran trainer Robert Garcia and he claims the move has given him a renewed confidence and sees Saturday’s fight as make or break.
“Robert Garcia has always been my brother. He’s a brother from another mother. It felt great to be back with Robert Garcia and I’m just ready for the fight now. Him and Donald Leary have me confident in myself, and that’s the most important thing,” he said.
“I’m going to take advantage of every opportunity. This can make or break me. I’m doing everything right in training and dieting. I usually say I can’t wait until weigh-ins but this time I can’t wait until Saturday.”
Garcia was quick to dispel the Thurman loss as a mere blip in his impressive record and is happy to fight Rios no matter what he comes with.
“It was a close fight against Thurman. I could easily be unified champion of the world right now. At the end of the day, I’m a champion. That’s my mindset. What doesn’t break me, makes me stronger,” the Philly fighter said.
“It’s the Danny Garcia show so I’m going to go in there and do what I want to do. I’m going to dictate the pace. If we want to band, we can bang. I we want to box, we can box,” he added.
Saturday’s co-main event stole the show Thursday as undefeated WBC super-middleweight world champion David Benavidez promised to send top-rated contender Ronald Gavril into retirement in their anticipated rematch of a thrilling 2017 split-decision. Gavril, who floored Benavidez in the final minute of their Fight of the Year nominee, promised a different outcome in Saturday’s rematch.
“I’m going to put Gavril into retirement after this fight. I’m going to knock him out. This is going to be the fight of the night, so you guys don’t want to miss it. He’s not going to want to box again after I get done with him,” Benavidez said.
He continued, “It wasn’t a tough decision to give him a rematch because it was a great fight. I just want to give the fans the fights they want to see. They said the first one was a war, let’s make this one a war too.”
Gavril said, “I was not surprised Benavidez gave me the rematch because it was such a good fight. I think Benavidez talks to much. He said before the first fight that he was coming to stop me in four rounds or five rounds. He cannot stop me. And now, he said the same thing before this fight. He can’t do that. Why do you think he got a new fitness coach?”