Los Angeles - Former world super lightweight and
welterweight world boxing champion Danny Garcia returns from the first loss of
his career in February against former world champion Brandon Rios, promoters
announced on Thursday.
The fight will headline a February 17 card at Mandalay Bay
in Las Vegas that also includes unbeaten American David Benavidez making his
first World Boxing Council super-middleweight title defence in a rematch with
Romanian Ronald Gavril.
Garcia, 33-1 with 19 knockouts, suffered the first defeat of
his career last March, dropping a split decision to fellow American Keith
Thurman at Brooklyn in a unification showdown for the World Boxing Council and
World Boxing Association welterweight crowns.
"I'm excited just to get back in the ring," Garcia
said. "I needed the time off to recuperate and let my body heal.
"I'm ready to kick off the year in style and take over
the welterweight division."
That would mean putting himself in position for a rematch
against double champion Thurman, unbeaten International Boxing Federation king
Errol Spence of the United States and undefeated Australian Jeff Horn, the
World Boxing Organization champion.
Garcia, 29, spent two years as a super lightweight champion
after taking his first crown in 2012 by unanimous decision from Mexico's Erik
Rios, 31, is 34-3 with one draw and 25 knockouts. The former
WBA lightweight champion dropped three of his past six starts, including a 2013
Macao matchup against Filipino star Manny Pacquiao, but won his most recent
bout by knocking out Mexico's Aaron Herrera last June after a 19-month layoff.
"I'm excited to prove my critics wrong again,"
Rios said. "Danny is a great fighter, but I will beat him just like I have
beat others in the past."
Benavidez, 19-0 with 17 knockouts, won the vacant crown last
September with a split decision over Gavril, 18-2 with 14 knockouts, at Las