INDIO, Calif., March 30, 2019 – Junior lightweight Ryan Garcia didn’t disappoint the many local fans who packed the Fantasy Springs Casino Resort, even though they only saw him in action for six minutes.
With his stablemate and mentor Canelo Alvarez watching from ringside, Garcia (18-0, 15 KOs) blasted Jose Lopez of Puerto Rico (20-4-1, 14 KOs) to score his second straight knockout win under trainer Eddy Reynoso.
Lopez, age 24, hoped to make things uncomfortable for Garcia. The only thing he managed to do was duck his head down. When Garcia started firing off his first barrage of head hunting punches at the end of the first round, he winged several off the top of Lopez’s head. Lopez was hurt, and managed to hold Garcia long enough to end the round.
Garcia did not waste any time, coming right back at Lopez. Many of his shots were wild and didn’t land, but more than enough did, landing a solid left upper cut finally sending Lopez tumbling to the canvas with 30 seconds left in the round. Referee Jack Reiss asked Lopez in Spanish twice if he wanted to continue, and if he was all right. He warned him against ducking his head. The lengthy instructions got Lopez to the end of the round and back to the corner. He never came back out, as his team wisely called a halt to the fight.
An elated Garcia said, “I caught him with that right hand over the top, he kept ducking his head and I smacked him wherever he went. It’s just like the cobra bag. I knew in the first round, when I started letting my hands go.”
Garcia credited his training and the inspiration of Alvarez. “I’m training with Eddy Reynoso, one of the best trainers in the world right now. My improvements are only going to get better and better. The fights are going to get better. The competition’s going to get better and better. And I’m going to be ready for it.
“I’m showing everybody … The more I get better, the opposition has to get better. Do I think I’m ready for a world title this year? Hell yes!” said Garcia, and his fans roared with approval.
Garcia added, “I want to say something to the Mayweather camp that keeps running their mouth, man. Don’t worry, you will get your fight. I’ll whip your ass, let’s do it. I ain’t intimidated by Mayweather. No one can intimidate me.” Garcia is referring to a Mayweather prospect who landed punches during a sparring session, and the two are sounding off on social media.
Patience you must have, young padawan
In the ring with Garcia after the bout, Alvarez said of Garcia, “He’s learning a lot. I’m very impressed. He’s the kind of fighter who does what he does in the gym in the ring, Not all fighters can do that. I think that he’s the best prospect today.” Alvarez offered Garcia advice from his perspective: “He needs to focus. Everyone has their path. He needs to focus on boxing. He already has a lot of fans. He needs to focus on boxing.”
Garcia landed 34 of 107 total punches (32 percent), against 10 of 69 for Lopez (14 percent). Garcia landed 27 power punches to 7 for Lopez.
Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Boxing promised Garcia will get the title shot – when he’s ready. “He’s on his way and look, he proved it again tonight. There’s a lot of fans who want to see him win that world title. Believe me, It’s going to happen, it’s going to happen sooner than later.”
Garcia is still just 20 years old. Patience and more exposure to training with the Reynosos and alongside Alvarez are an investment that will pay major dividends for him, He would be wise to focus on this aspect of his career over the next few years.
Angel Acosta defends his title with skills that pay the bills
WBO junior flyweight titleholder Angel Acosta of Puerto Rico (20-1, 20 KOs) kept his perfect knockout rate in place with an eighth round knockout win in his title defense against former champion Ganigan Lopez of Mexico City (35-9, 19 KOs).
It wasn’t a typical high volume power punching fight. Lopez is far too smart and experienced to let that happen. He made an early mistake and was buzzed by Acosta in the first round. From that point, Lopez played defense, and Acosta took his time. Acosta’s fundamental skills are efficient and pretty. When he finally had the chance to strike, he hit Lopez with a perfect short right and wobbled him, then swarmed in with multiple shots to finish the job at 1:55 of the eighth round.
Acosta said after the bout, “We (trainer Freddie Roach) did all the work that we did in the gym.” He explained the performance as a waiting game. “Ganigan came here very intelligently, he knew how to move and how to evade punches, especially after the first round when I hurt him.”
Acosta says he’d like to unify the junior flyweight division, but he’d also like the kind of payday he feels he has earned. “I want to unify, but I also want to get the big purses, I have shown that I can knock people out just like the people in the bigger divisions. I have 21 fights, 20 of them have ended by knockout. So I want the big money.” Acosta said he would fight any other champion in the division.
Joet Gonzalez demands title shot after dominating win
Featherweight Joet Gonzalez (22-0, 13 KOs) of Los Angeles took a big step toward the top of the division with a dominating TKO5 win over veteran and former IBF champion Rodrigo Guerrero of Mexico (26-8-2, 17 KOs). Gonzalez blasted Guerrero with a nonstop assault of hard body shots followed by crisp hooks and upper cuts. Guerrero had never been stopped or knocked down. Gonzalez did both, scoring a knockdown with a series anchored by an upper cut in the second round. Guerrero was game and kept on coming, but couldn’t make any headway against Gonzalez. In the fifth round, the body work paid off as referee Jerry Cantu finally decided former champion had taken enough punishment.
“He’s never been knocked out, never been stopped, and I was the first to do it,”said Gonzalez. “I came in with a game plan I would be the first to do it. I had to be smart in there.
“I knew I had a world champion in there. I smelled the blood, but I had to act like a try professional, like a true contender. So I took my time. I knew he was going to get out of there sooner rather than later,” said Gonzalez. Gonzalez retains his WBO NABO Featherweight title, and feels he’s ready for a world title opportunity now. “I want bigger fights, I’m not leaving 2019 without a title shot,” declared Gonzalez. He appears ready for it and one of the more promising talents in the Golden Boy Boxing stable.
Desert debuts impressive for Hernandez and Zorrillo
Junior lightweight contender Eduardo “Rocky” Hernandez of Mexico (28-0, 25 KOs) made his way into the ring while the arena’s fire alarms blared over “Eye of the Tiger.” His performance brought plenty of heat as Hernandez made an impressive U.S. debut, scoring a knockout win against Ibrahim Class of Tanzania (22-6, 10 KOs) at 1:53 of the second round. The 21-year-old Hernandez showed impressive power, scoring his first knockdown a minute into the round on a left hook combination, and then stopping Class a minute later with a right hook. Class essentially gave up as referee Thomas Taylor counted him out.
“I showed my ability in there,” said Hernandez. “This year, I plan to show everyone the Mexican style we all love. I also want the world to know who Rocky Hernandez is. Hopefully I can get a world title shot by the end of the year.”
You’ll see more of Hernandez, who is now co-promoted by Golden Boy and Promociones del Pueblo. He is ranked tenth in the division by RING Magazine. Hernandez earns the WBC Youth World Super Featherweight title with his performance.
Daniellito Zorrilla of Puerto Rico (11-0, 9 KOs) blew right through veteran Gamaliel Diaz of Mexico (40-20-3, 19 KOs) in two rounds. Zorrilla scored his first knockdown on a right and left hook combination near the end of round one. As the second round was closing out, Zorrilla threw a left hook near the end of the second round sending Diaz flying across the ring off his feet and onto his rump, and he’s counted out by Thomas Taylor at the official time of 2:59. He also likely sent Diaz back into retirement.
Zorrilla said the win felt good. “This was the kind of fight we were looking. We wanted experienced fighters. I knew what I had to do in there, and thank God for the victory.”
Zorrilla landed 37 of 86 punches thrown to just 7 of 74 for Diaz; Zorrilla landed 30 of 66 power punches. Zorrilla is a strong welterweight and could quickly become relevant at the top of the division if he continues to deliver similar performances against tougher opposition. It should be entertaining watching him get there.
Promising prospect Aaron McKenna pitches a shutout in six rounds
Young Irish welterweight Aaron “The Silencer” McKenna (7-0, 4 KOs) won a shutout unanimous decision to stay undefeated against Loretto Olivas of New Mexico via Mexico (3-1, 1 KO). Scores were 60-53 on all three cards, thanks to a first-round knockdown scored with a straight right. Olivas provided as much resistance as he could, but McKenna used distance extremely well and never let Olivas get too close. He is already a skilled body puncher. McKenna may be among the best young prospects in the Golden Boy Boxing stable, and he’s one to watch.
Opening the night’s action, veteran junior welterweight contender Antonio Orozco of San Diego (28-1, 17 KOs) got back in the win column with a solid unanimous decision victory over Jose Luis Rodriguez of Mexico (25-13-1, 13 KOs). Scores were 99-91 and 97-93 X 2. It was Orozco’s first fight with his new trainer Freddie Roach. Roach is a perfect choice for Orozco, who wins with punch output and determination rather than sheer power. He demonstrated that he’s recovered from his rough outing against Jose Ramirez.
“This was my first camp with Freddie Roach, and it was a lot to absorb,” said Orozco. “Overall, we got the win, and that’s what is important. We are back in business, and debuted on DAZN.”
Orozco’s toughest opponent these days is the scale. He would prefer to fight at junior welterweight but it’s going to be a struggle for him to stay under 140 pounds.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is an award-winning boxing journalist covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.
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