It wasn’t a typical shock and awe performance that Mikey Garcia fans have come to expect from the WBO super feather ruler but the hard-punching Californian got the job done last night against challenger Juan Carlos Burgos at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Garcia came into the contest on the heels of 12 consecutive victories that did not go the distance and many expected more fireworks against Burgos.
Ironically, it was Burgos who came closest to producing a knockdown, nailing Garcia with a pinpoint counter left hook in the second round that heavily buckled the champion’s knees.
The punch was strongly reminecent of the short right hand Rocky Martinez dropped Garcia with just two months prior.
But that was the only damaging punch that Burgos could muster the entire bout as the lanky Mexican used his height, jab and constant movement mostly in an effort to keep out of a slugfest with the champion.
Nowhere to be seen was Burgos’ vaunted body attack as that would necessitate getting in close proximity to Garcia, who tried to cut off the ring all night.
Garcia had to settle for fighting from the range favored by the challenger and showed great skill in outboxing the taller man, landing with far more accuracy than Burgos.
The relative lack of action drew a negative response from the crowd in attendance, who booed the fighters in the later rounds.
Despite obviously being far behind on the scorecards going into the 12th round, Burgos didn’t fight the final frame with the type of urgency expected of a man that required a knockout in order to produce a victory.
When the scores were read, Garcia was unsurprisingly the winner by wide margins of 118-110 twice and 119-109, improving to 34-0 (28), retaining the WBO crown for the first time.
Burgos falls to 30-2-2 (20), and is now 0-3 in world title bouts.
Garcia’s name has been bandied about as a potential opponent to such fighters as lightweight Yuriorkis Gamboa and even welterweight Manny Pacquiao but the 26 year old Oxnard man has three other fighters in his own division that possess world title belts.
What ever happened to cleaning out one’s own weight class before moving up?
Two of those titles, the WBC and WBA, rest with Takashi Muira, 27-2-2 (20), and Takashi Uchiyama, 21-0-1 (17), respectively, and Garcia would have probably have to go to Japan for unification bouts, something his promoter may be leery of.
However, if Garcia truly is “the man” at 130 pounds, and is being considered to fight such top of the line, and bigger, fighters such as Gamboa and Pacquiao, would he not be favored to KO Muira and Uchiyama, two undefeated good fighters who have also been protected with selective matchmaking?
There is also the newly minted, towering IBF boss Rances Barthelemy, 20-0 (13), who loves a tear-up and would likely produce a thrilling slugfest with Garcia for as long as he lasts against the heavier-handed Mikey.
In a battle of unbeaten heavyweights on the undercard at Madison Square Garden, Bryant Jennings, 18-0 (10), stopped Artur Szpilka, 16-1 (12), at 2:20 of the 10th and final round of their bout.