As part of a scintillating triple-header on HBO Boxing After Dark, WBO super featherweight champion Roman "Rocky" Martinez (27-1, 16 KO) will defend his title against former WBO featherweight champion Mikey Garcia (32-0, 27 KO).
Though Garcia is an American-born Mexican, taking on the Puerto Rican Martinez still adds yet another chapter in the long and storied boxing rivalry between Mexican and Puerto Rican fighters.
The card will also feature the return of Nonito Donaire in a long-awaited rematch with Vic Darchinyan. Also on the card from the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas is Vanes Martirosyan vs. Demetrius Andrade.
Here's how you can catch the action and a closer look at Garcia vs. Martinez.
When: Saturday, Nov. 9 at 9:30 p.m. ET
Where: American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas
The Book on Garcia
Done Battling the Scale
Garcia is the former WBO champion not because he was bested in the ring. He is still undefeated, but prior to his last fight with Juan Manuel Lopez, Garcia dropped his title after failing to make weight. He subsequently dropped Lopez in the fourth round in a dominating performance.
Garcia has had little-to-no problem with all of his opponents thus far. There are some questions as to whether he'll bring his impressive power with him to super featherweight and beyond but not many.
He's still just 25 years old and at 5'6", his frame is perfect to rise as high as 135 pounds. Under the tutelage of his brother and 2012 trainer of the year, Robert Garcia, Mikey is one of the brightest young stars in the sport.
That said, he is set to take on one of the pound-for-pound toughest fighters in the world.
The Book on Martinez
Not one for crisp jabs or picturesque four-punch combinations, Martinez is a blood and guts fighter. From a pure talent standpoint, Garcia has the edge, but there are few—if any—that have a bigger heart than Martinez.
Despite the fact that Martinez isn't the most skilled boxer, he does pack a solid punch, and he can take a good shot as well. Martinez has scored vicious KO wins over Nicky Cook and Daniel Attah, and he's never been down in a fight.
He had briefly lost the WBO title when he was out-pointed by Ricky Burns in 2010, but Martinez would regain the title that he's held for the better part of four years with a close, split-decision win over Miguel Beltran, Jr. in Sept. 2012.
He escaped with a draw against Juan Carlos Burgos in January and won another split decision over Diego Magdaleno in April. Needless to say, he's been winning ugly of late. Can he out-slug the uber-talented Garcia on Saturday night?
Usually when a fighter moves up in weight to fight a fighter who has been settled in the weight class for years, there is some concern about the boxer who is moving up. That isn't as much the case for Garcia. Because he's struggled so hard to make 125 pounds, the 130-pound limit is far more natural for him now.
In fact, he weighed 128 pounds when he knocked out Lopez in June.
Who wins Garcia-Martinez and how?
Hoping that Garcia mishandles the weight is Martinez's best chance to win this fight. Though Martinez is two inches taller, Garcia's reach is one inch longer, thus his effective jab should remain a weapon.
There is almost no doubt Garcia will win rounds as long as the fight is a boxing match. Martinez needs to turn it into a fight, but Garcia is simply too slick and skilled to be taken out of his game.
He will carve Martinez up early and hurt him a few times, but he won't knock him out. If Garcia proves me wrong on the last me point, he's even more dynamic than I'm giving him credit for. In any case, he wins this fight and becomes the new WBO super featherweight champion.
My official prediction is a lopsided unanimous decision victory for Garcia.
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