Mikey Garcia remains undefeated by taking out Juan Carlos Burgos at MSG
By Chris Mannix
Mikey Garcia (left) was rarely seriously threatened by Juan Carlos Burgos during the fight. (Gregory Payan/AP)
NEW YORK — Three thoughts on Mikey Garcia’s unanimous decision win over Juan Carlos Burgos and Bryant Jennings’ knockout win over Artur Szpilka at Madison Square Garden:
The Garcia train keeps on rolling
Garcia (34-0) is boxing’s iceman. Quiet, supremely talented, able to wear you down with steady pressure while tactfully avoiding your best punches and demoralizing you with thudding power. Against Burgos, he turned in a vintage performance. After an even first two rounds — which included him getting staggered by a Burgos shot in the second — Garcia took over. He stalked Burgos relentlessly, tagging him with straight right hands and left hooks, blocking and evading Burgos’s power shots. Per CompuBox, Garcia connected on 163 of 567 punches while Burgos was successful on just 89 of 564.
“In the early rounds, I was working on getting the right rhythm,” Garcia said. “Once I got that, I got a good pace. Burgos is a tough fighter, I expected him to go rounds, and he did.”
Garcia has moved up in weight quickly — Burgos was just his second opponent at 130 pounds and Top Rank has eyes to move him to 147 at some point next year — but Garcia, 26, said that he feels completely comfortable as he puts on weight.
“I’ve grown a lot the last 9-10 months,” Garcia said. “I feel really good at 130 pounds, but 135 could be a good division for me. It depends on what type of fights are there.”
Is Gamboa next?
Former super featherweight titleholder Yuriorkis Gamboa and his promoter, 50 Cent, were in the crowd for Garcia-Burgos and made something of a spectacle in the middle rounds by getting up and leaving. After the fight, the two crashed the ring. Talk of a Garcia-Gamboa showdown has been simmering for months — the pair have engaged in some verbal sparring on social media — and both appear willing to make it happen.
“If he wants to make a deal, he can call my promoter and we can do it,” Garcia said. “I’m not avoiding any fights. We can put on gloves right now and finish it.”
Jennings takes another step
Over the last two years Byrant Jennings (18-0) has risensteadily in the heavyweight division. Fighting largely on NBC Sports Network, Jennings has built a decent resume. He added another line on that resume on Saturday, pummeling an overmatched Artur Szpilka over ten one-sided rounds. In a matchup of prospects, Jennings was clearly the superior fighter, hounding Szpilka across the ring and battering him with heavy combinations. Szpilka was game but overmatched. He went down from a hard shot to the gut in the sixth round and was nearly knocked through the ropes in the tenth. Athletic commission officials rushed onto the ring apron to stop the fight later in the tenth round as Jennings was unleashing another brutal assault.
For Jennings, the win opens up even more possibilities. Jennings has pursued a fight against Wladimir Klitschko in the past and Klitschko, who will defend his titles against mandatory challenger Alex Leapai in April, could be on the hunt for a U.S. opponent. But that opponent will more likely be the winner of Bermane Stiverne-Chris Arreola, who are fighting for the piece of the heavyweight title vacated by Vitali Klitschko.
Mike Perez, an opponent HBO had been high on for Jennings, diminished his brand last week when he fought Carlos Takam to an uninspired draw. Promoter Gary Shaw suggested Jennings could still fight Perez, as both are ranked in the top five in the WBC rankings. Another alternative for Jennings could be Tomasz Adamek, the former two-division titleholder and heavyweight title challenger. Adamek will face Vyacheslav Glazkov in March. If Adamek comes out of that fight unscathed, a Jennings-Adamek showdown would do well in New York or New Jersey
Mikey Garcia Outpoints Juan Carlos Burgos
By LARRY FLEISHER Associated Press
Mikey Garcia retained the WBO junior lightweight title with a unanimous decision over Juan Carlos Burgos on Saturday night at the Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Garcia (34-0) failed to record a knockout for the sixth time as a professional in a fight that had many booing the lack of action. He was able to consistently block most of the punches thrown by Burgos (30-2-2) and won for the second time in the 130-pound division by scores of 119-109, 118-110 and 118-110.
Garcia won the fight by landing 29 percent (163-of-567) of his punches. He also landed 24 percent of his jabs (81-of-339) and 36 percent of power punches (82-of-228).
"In the early rounds, I was working on getting the right rhythm, timing and distance," Garcia said. "Once I got that, I worked on fighting at a good pace. Burgos is a big tough fighter, I expected him to go rounds and it did."
Garcia fought at the same venue where he won his first championship last January with a decision over Orlando Salido for the WBO featherweight title. That fight ended in the eighth round when Garcia had a broken nose but before it concluded he had dominated things by dropping Salido four times.
Garcia was methodical early but did enough late to continue his ascent and potentially move closer to an eventual fight with Manny Pacquiao within the next year. Pacquiao will first fight Timothy Bradley on April 12 for the WBO welterweight title.
However, before he could get a date with Pacquiao, Garcia may fight Yuriorkis Gamboa. Gamboa was sitting ringside with promoter 50 cent and some were chanting his name during lulls in the action.
"I will fight anyone," Garcia said. "Gamboa knows what to do - sit down at the table and negotiate."
Burgos went the distance for the third straight time but rarely put a scare into Garcia. The only thing closely resembling a threat came in the second round when Burgos briefly dropped Garcia to one knee.
"He caught me with a left hook," Garcia said. "I stumbled a little bit but I was all right. I didn't get hurt but I came back right after that."
In the third round, Garcia caught Burgos with a right hand that seemed. That seemed to make Burgos less aggressive and cautious of Garcia's power.
"He probably felt my power and respected that more," Garcia said.
Garcia seemed like he was going to get the knock out in the later rounds when he caught Burgos a few times in the corner with a few jabs and body blows but could not finish it.
"He has a lot of ability," Burgos said. "He's fast and strong. Luck was not with us today."
On the undercard, Bryant Jennings (18-0) recorded his 10th knockout at 2:20 of the 10th round, beating Poland's Artur Szpilka (16-1) in a non-championship heavyweight bout.
Jennings had the faster hands throughout the fight but could not come close to ending the fight until the final round. He nearly finished the fight with a little over a minute left in the final round by landing a hard left hook but the fight continued for another 30 seconds.
It ended when Jennings landed an even harder left shot that hit Szpilka across the face, forcing him to cling to the ropes and prompting referee Mike Ortega to stop the fight.