After a tense moment in the second round, Mikey Garcia (33-0, 28 KO) systematically dismantled Rocky Martinez (27-2) on Saturday night in Corpus Christi, Texas.
He stopped Martinez with a thunderous body shot in the eighth round. In the process, he walked away with Martinez's WBO Super Featherweight Championship. At 25 years old, Garcia has already won two world titles.
He raised his impressive KO percentage to 84.85, but he did get put on the seat of his pants in the second frame. Martinez is a gamer who came to fight. He caught Garcia with a short, quick left hand that stunned him.
The knockdown proved to be a wakeup call for Garcia.
He showed the poise that has become his calling card and demonstrated he was head and shoulders above Martinez. He hurt Martinez on a few occasions before the knockout, but as usual, he took his time and waited for the right moment to end his opponent's night.
Prior to this fight, Garcia had lost his title on the scale after failing to make 126 pounds before his WBO featherweight title defense against Juan Manuel Lopez. He stopped Juan Ma in the fourth round but surrendered the title nonetheless.
Garcia seemed much more comfortable at 130 pounds, but he may have a hard time finding big-time competition at his new weight class. Many of the big-name fighters in the weight region are at 126 pounds. He will have to hope that fighters like Orlando Salido and Jhonny Gonzalez will be willing to come up in weight to face him.
With all the troubles that Garcia has had making 126 pounds, it may be unrealistic for him to move back down. As for Martinez, his career still has some upside.
He gave a spirited effort. He could challenge for another title—as long as he doesn't have to face Garcia again. Look for him to rebound and return to the title picture before long.
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