Against Rocky Martinez, Garcia moved up in weight to 130lbs and challenged the long time champion Martinez for his title on his first trip to the 130lb weight division.
In the first round, it was immediately apparent to me that Garcia was the better boxer. Martinez was sharp and crisp, but he could hardly penetrate Garcia's guard. He might have landed two or three clean punches the entire round as far as my eyes could see. Garcia did a better job measuring the distance between them, and tagged Martinez with his jab on several occasions.
The first round was easy to score for Garcia, and coming out for the second it was much of the same. It was the same, right up until the point that boxing reminds us all that it is in the "hurt business." Guys come in knowing they are going to get hit and possibly get hurt. Mikey stuck out a sharp one-two, and Martinez slipped in a straight right hand counter on the front of Garcia's chin and sent him to the canvas. It was a flash knockdown and you could even see Garcia smile, knowing that he'dmisfired and got caught with a good shot.
Garcia got up and from there it was all elementary. He closed up his defense, walked
It was in the 7th round that Mikey really began to open up and finally hurt Martinez with a good combination. Garcia began to land almost at will and going into the corner for the 8th, I could see that the inevitable was beginning to take shape; as Garcia was up on my score card 6 -1 and Martinez began to look like a beaten fighter.
As the bell sounded to begin the 8th, a weaker Martinez entered the ring. He began to have even more difficulty landing against Garcia, and Garcia kept tagging him. Early in the round, Garcia scored with a hard one-two that wobbled Martinez. Again, a one-two and Martinez folds over, exposing his body on the left side and Garcia nails him with a left to the liver. Martinez goes down and doesn't beat the ten count. Fight over, Mikey Garcia becomes the 130lb WBO champion.
Mikey Garcia put on another exhibition against a great fighter who would have been there until the final bell sounded against many top quality opponents. However, he wasn't just facing a top quality opponent, he was facing a star. With 33 wins 28 knockouts and no losses, Garcia is beginning to build and at the same time cement the kind of resume that legends are made of. There are some really good fighters in the 130lb weight division, two of Japanese descent, one being a titleholder. But with what I've seen so far, Mikey Garcia just became the gatekeeper of that division. At this moment in his career, if he remains focused, I don't see a fighter posing much of a threat in the lower weight classes where he has continually dominated opponents.
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