By Joseph Santoliquito
PHILADELPHIA — Danny Garcia is ready to get back into the ring. The former two-division world champion had taken off 11 months to feel what it was like to miss boxing; something he’s been doing since he was six years old.
On Saturday, Garcia will step back into the ring and take on Brandon Rios (34-3-1, 25 KOs) in a scheduled 12-round welterweight fight on Showtime (9 PM ET), on a card which also features the David Benavidez-Ronald Gavril rematch, for Benavidez’s WBC super middleweight title, from Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino Events Center, in Las Vegas.
Garcia (33-1, 19 KOs) will be fighting for the first time since he lost a split-decision to Keith Thurman. Garcia says he’s ready.
“I just had to get away from boxing, I didn’t even watch boxing,” Garcia admitted. “It was nice for a little while there. I was enjoying my life during the time off. I knew that I would be back sooner or later. This is going to be a new chapter in my life. The loss was a new thing to overcome, and the loss is definitely something that motivates me.”
“Bam Bam” Rios is someone who stand in front of Garcia and won’t be afraid to trade with Philly’s “Swift.” Rios is also 31with a lot of wear on his body. Tim Bradley stopped Rios in nine in November 2015. Rios has fought just once since then, stopping Aaron Herrera, by seventh-round KO in June 2017.
Garcia looks more muscular than he has in the past. He’s hitting the heavy bag harder and has been impressive in sparring, sending many of his sparring partners home.
“I think true boxing experts and fans know what I’m about, and if you know boxing, they know Danny Garcia is a true boxing champion, and I have three world titles and I plan on coming back and winning more,” Garcia said. “I watched (Rios’) fight against Herrera. He looked he was determined. But the guy that he fought isn’t me.”
Garcia is stronger and needed the time off to realize how much he missed fighting. Garcia also knows he lost to Thurman for what he feels were all the wrong reasons.
“No doubt about it,” Danny said. “It was one of those nights when I started slow, which wasn’t my game plan. That falls on me. Thinking back, it killed me a lot. All I had to do was win one or two rounds in the beginning, and I would have beat [Thurman]. I know it. I want to get through this one, and in time, in time, Thurman will be next. It will be easy. Thurman stopped fighting after the fourth or fifth round.
“I’m back. I’m happy to be in the gym again.”