Garcia: Thurman loss behind; ready for big '18

From ESPN - January 9, 2018

Danny Garcia has been the unified junior welterweight world champion and also won a welterweight world title, but he lost for the first time in his last fight and is now trying to move forward.

In March, Garcia came close to unifying two welterweight world titles but dropped a split decision to Keith Thurman in their much-hyped showdown. Garcia has not fought since but will end his 11-month layoff against Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios when they meet on Feb. 17 (Showtime) at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

On Tuesday, at the Conga Room at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles, Garcia and Rios met face-to-face to kick off the promotion for the bout that was announced a few weeks ago. Naturally, there was discussion of Garcia's previous fight in addition to his upcoming assignment.

"I am healthy and strong and ready to fight. I am putting the loss to Keith Thurman behind me and moving forward," Garcia said. "I have to focus on being Danny Garcia on Feb. 17. I ca not press and try to do too much. I just have to get the win.

"I felt like I fought a good fight against Thurman. He did not really engage. I thought after the fourth round he was basically shadowboxing. I do not blame him, because you have to be dumb to stand in front of me. We will make some adjustments and add to what I already do well."

Now Garcia (33-1, 19 KOs), 29, of Philadelphia, is aiming for a fresh start against Rios, a former lightweight world titleholder who went on to become a top junior welterweight and welterweight contender before seeing his career fade.

"I feel really good mentally and physically right now," Garcia said. "My body is rested and ready to have a great 2018 starting Feb. 17. You have to be focused to succeed in a fight like this, and I think Brandon Rios knows that. I am training hard, so I hope he is, too. I am never going to take a fight off.

"This is a classic fight of a boxer-puncher versus a brawler. I am going to be prepared for everything and start 2018 off right. I have to be the fighter I have always been. I never back down, and I know that Brandon Rios sees that in me. I always come to fight. It's going to be a great matchup with our styles and our determination."

Garcia said he has been studying tapes of Rios' recent fights, like he usually does of his opponents.

"I like watching the last three fights of my opponent," he said. "I think it gives me a good indication of what he's going to look like on fight night. I have been watching tape of my last fight, too, so we can get a great game plan together."


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