Danny Garcia returns to the ring this Saturday at Mandalay Bay Events Center to take on slugger Brandon Rios.
Garcia was last seen nearly one year ago losing a split decision to Keith Thurman in a WBC/WBA Welterweight Unification battle on CBS. It was the first blemish on Garcia’s perfect record (33-1, 19KOs) and he looks to use the tough as nails Rios (34-3-1, 25KOs) as a bounce back fight to get back to the top of the Welterweight title scene.
This bout is a WBC title eliminator, which means the winner gets the next crack at the WBC champion which is currently Thurman, who also has not fought since. Tickets start at $50 to $500 and the card also features WBC Super Middleweight Champion David Benavidez (19-0, 17KOs) defending the crown in a rematch against Ronald Gavril (18-2, 14KOs). Benavidez won the first fight by controversial split decision and survived a 12th round knockdown to win the vacant title.
Back to Garcia, while one can never tell how a boxer will respond after a first loss, his camp selected Rios because of the fact Rios is an easy target. He wants to brawl and “Swift” Garcia wants to box. Depending on Rios’ conditioning, which has been a factor in the past, if he can keep pressuring Garcia he has a chance in this fight. That said one look at the betting line will show how unlikely that chance is.
Garcia -2500 (MGM Mirage)
Rios +1300 (William Hill)
Total: Unavailable at press time.
As of deadline only two books I see in town have a current line, MGM Mirage, the fight host, and William Hill. Check back with your favorite book this week to see if they will be offering the fight.
It’s an ugly line for a fight that should play out one of two ways. Garcia either wears Rios out in the late rounds or cruises to an easy decision victory. Without a total and such a huge number on the favorite all I can say is, if you head to the arena or sit on the couch to watch live on Showtime, toss a Hail Mary ticket in on Rios at 13-1 for a couple bucks to enjoy the fight. But the bookmaker side of me says, PASS.
Other boxing set for this weekend includes a big event over in England as WBA Super Middleweight Champion George Groves faces Chris Eubank, which is also the Semifinals of the World Boxing Super Series. Unfortunately the fight is not broadcast in the U.S., which is a shame since these are two of the top four super middleweights in the world going to battle. William Hill is offering a line on the fight that installs Eubank (26-1, 20 KOs) as a -240 favorite. Groves, who you might remember from his big fights with Carl Froch, is a +200 underdog. The total on the fight is 10.5 rounds -110 on Over or Under. I lean Groves at that price as Eubank doesn’t have a win on his belt yet that I find impressive and 2-1 on Groves seems high.
For the MMA crowd, UFC Fight Night takes place on Sunday this weekend with Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in the main event against Yancy Medeiros, who has won three straight fights. The card is free on FS1.
No lines are up yet in town from what I see but expect Cerrone to be about a -150 favorite.
Also on the card, Marcin Tybura faces Derrick Lewis in a battle of Top 10 heavyweights, Tybura looks to be a -155 to -160 favorite.
Lastly on Friday, Bellator 194 heads to the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut for the second fight of the Heavyweight Grand Prix Roy Nelson vs. Matt Mitrione.
Mitrione looks to be a -185 to -200 favorite to move on; the winner will face the winner of a May fight between Ryan Bader and King Mo. Bellator 194 will be live on the Paramount Network, formerly Spike TV.