Gregory Payan/Associated Press
Garcia lacked his customary explosiveness against Burgos.
Maybe we've just become spoiled, but Mikey Garcia's lackluster unanimous-decision win over Juan Carlos Burgos Saturday night at Madison Square Garden left the entire room flat. People had shown up to see the explosive, devastating Garcia who had blasted Orlando Salido, Juan Manuel Lopez and Roman Martinez in 2013.
Instead, they got a technical, but wholly uninspired performance against a foe who was there to survive, not win.
At his best, Garcia is a surgeon in the ring. He patiently waits for openings, finds them and exploits them to devastating effect. But against Burgos, a former two-time world title challenger who probably should've won at least one of those bouts, he was far too surgical.
Burgos caught Garcia in the closing seconds of the second round with a hook that buckled his knees and nearly sent him to the mat. But he recovered well, badly hurting the Mexican challenger in the third round, and from that point on, the fight turned into a bit of a bore.
Garcia stalked, stalked and stalked some more. But he didn't let his hands go often enough, perhaps having a respect for Burgos power, and he allowed him to hang around. By the end of the contest, with Burgos on his bicycle and having no shred of hope of actually winning, the crowd booed Garcia lustily, expressing their displeasure with his lack of aggression.
Now, in fairness to Mikey, this was a difficult stylistic matchup for him from the get-go.
As was pointed out by some observers, including yours truly, Garcia was in the ring with a slick boxer for the first time in a while. Salido, Lopez and Martinez were all known for their aggression and willingness to come forward.
Their game plan was to attack Garcia, and in doing so, they left him a ton of openings that he obviously used against them. Burgos, on the other hand, just wanted to hear the final bell.
Perhaps this was just a bad night at the office, and given his last three fights, you could say that he's earned one. A win is a win, and Burgos, for all his flaws, is a tough nut to crack. Let's not jump off the Mikey Garcia train just yet.