LAS VEGAS, NV – Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios brought his guns to Saturday’s welterweight encounter with Danny Garcia at Mandalay Bay. Unfortunately for Rios, Garcia brought a bazooka. He put it to use in the ninth round, felling Rios like a rock with a crunching overhand right. Bam Bam beat the count, but he was unsteady (on queer street, to use an old expression) and would have been easy meat for Garcia if referee Kenny Bayless hadn’t wisely waived it off.
With the crowd in his corner, Rios, a former WBA world lightweight champion, pressed the action, but Garcia, the Philadelphia invader, was never in any serious harm. He was ahead on all three cards through the eight completed rounds. Garcia, who was coming off his first career loss, elevated his record to 34-1 (24). Rios declined to 34-4-1.
In the co-feature, David Benavidez successfully defended his IBF 168-pound title and won his 20th straight without a loss with a lopsided 12-round decision over hard-trying but outgunned Ronald Gavril (18-3). Benavidez won every round on two of the scorecards and 11 rounds on the other. This was a rematch and a far easier fight for Benavidez than the first meeting.
The 21-year-old Benavidez, who has the frame to eventually grow into a cruiserweight, tattooed the teak-tough Gavril with an impressive assortment of punches. The Phoenix lad, who wears the colors of Mexico, was the crowd favorite although he was fighting a local fighter in the Romania-born Gavril. He is potentially the most popular fighter to come out of Phoenix since mighty-mite Michael Carbajal.
In the first TV fight, Cuban defector Yordenis Ugas (21-3, 10 KOs) continued his steady comeback with a seventh round stoppage of Philadelphia’s Ray Robinson in a contest framed as an IBF welterweight title eliminator.
Ugas decked Robinson in the opening round with a sweeping right hook. Robinson returned the favor at the end of round four, but it was an illegal punch delivered after the bell and he was docked a point by referee Robert Byrd for the infraction. The end came in round seven when Ugas knocked Robinson down hard with a straight right hand. The Philadelphian beat the count, but Ugas tore after him in a frenzy, sending Robinson, who to his credit never stopped throwing punches, reeling against the ropes, forcing Byrd to intervene.
It was a tough loss for Robinson (24-3) who rode into the contest riding a 13-fight winning streak.
It was a long night for local fight fans and an especially long night for fight fans tuning in back on the east coast where the main event didn’t start until 23 minutes after midnight.
Photo credit: Al Applerose