If you had any doubt about Mikey Garcia’s ability to be a star in the sport of boxing, you might want to reconsider after tonight.
Garcia (33-0, 28 KO) overcame a flash second round knockdown to systematically breakdown and stop Rocky Martinez (27-2-2, 16 KO) with a vicious left hand body shot in the eighth round. With the win, he captured the WBO Super Featherweight Championship, his second title in as many weight classes.
Martinez found some success in the early rounds, fighting at distance and using his jab to keep Garcia at bay. He put Garcia on the canvas in the second round with a counter right hand, but didn’t appear to hurt him badly with the punch.
By the middle rounds, Garcia began to land his counter shots with more frequency and ferocity. It appeared to be just a matter of time before Martinez, who was game but outgunned, would wilt under the increasing pressure.
With the victory, Garcia immediately establishes himself as a force to be reckoned with at 130 pounds, and continues his rise towards the upper echelons of the sport.
In the co-main event, it took Nonito Donaire (32-2, 22 KO) a little more than eight rounds to fight like the guy who took the boxing world by storm in 2012, but he rallied to stop old rival Vic Darchinyan (39-6-1, 28 KO) in the ninth round of a highly competitive bout.
It was an impressive ending, but for large portions of the fight, the “Filipino Flash” appeared more cautious than we’ve ever seen him, struggling to get off his punches, and often getting hit cleanly by Darchinyan’s left hand.
At the time of the stoppage, Donaire was well behind on two of the three judges scorecards. But to his credit, he closed the show in a big way, and got himself back in the win column.
In the opening contest, Demetrius Andrade (20-0, 13 KO) became the first 2008 US Olympian to capture a world title, scoring a stunning split-decision victory over a listless Vanes Martirosyan (32-1-1, 21 KO) to capture the WBO Junior Middleweight Championship.
Scores were 117-110 and 114-113 for Andrade and 115-112 for Martirosyan.
The decision was stunning—not because Andrade won—but because one of the judges somehow found a way to give Martirosyan the fight. Andrade was the far busier and more active fighter and appeared to be headed to a wide verdict on the scorecards.