Check, mate: Garcia KOs Campbell in seven rounds
SAN DIEGO, Calif., January 2, 2021 – “King” Ryan Garcia played the game, earned his moment and his opportunity to crow over the naysayers, and call out his foes in Dallas on Saturday. Reality can wait until tomorrow.
Garcia of Victorville, California (21-0, 18 KOs) earned respect for getting off the deck in the second round, passing his toughest test so far by stopping Olympic gold medalist Luke Campbell of Great Britain (20-4, 16 KOs) in the seventh round. It was the first time Campbell lost via stoppage.
An elated Garcia said, “I showed a lot of people who I really am. Going into this fight, I wanted to show people that, whatever they call you, they want to call you a social media fighter, they want to call me a lot of things. People want to put you down. Remember, you aren’t who people tell you you are. You are who you want to be.”
The King’s gambit hits a roadblock
Give Garcia credit for shaking off the early knockdown from a solid left hook to the head by Campbell. It was the best possible thing that could have happened to the brash young lightweight in retrospect. In the corner, trainer Eddy Reynoso pointed out Garcia made a mistake lowering his right hand. Garcia said “I understand. Let’s go.” It sobered him up, and caused him to make the adjustments needed to put Campbell in position for the left hook to the liver Garcia made stick six rounds later.
“I wouldn’t let nothing stop me,” said Garcia. He admitted Campbell caught him with the knockdown. “I thought, yo, I got dropped, this is crazy!” Garcia laughed. “I’ve never been dropped by my life. I got a little too excited over the moment. I knew I was in control but I wanted to dog him.
“I thought I could crack him, but he cracked me. So I had to adjust. I knew I could beat him. I knew had to get back up and show him what a warrior is really like. I was a little dizzy, I ain’t gonna lie. But I was like, you know it ain’t that bad, what’s the worst this guy is gonna do? I wasn’t too worried,” said Garcia.
Garcia started sitting down on his punches nicely. He nearly stopped Campbell in the fifth round with a hard left hook landed to the temple at the end of the round. Campbell was held up by the ropes. The pandemic limited crowd of 6,000 sensed Campbell was faltering, and so did Garcia. Campbell used a good jab to try and fend off Garcia, and began crowding Garcia to limit his ability to throw big punches. But it ended up being the mistake Garcia seized on to land the body shot ending the fight at 1:58 of round 7.
Campbell provides the test Garcia needed
“Luke Campbell has never fought in his life coming forward,” said Garcia. “I knew he was going to back up. Naturally, I’m a counterpuncher. But today I showed that I can be aggressive, go forward and take it to somebody. I showed I can take it to somebody and knock them out. God told me that it would end with a body shot, and that’s what happened. I want to thank God.”
Campbell admitted Garcia was the hardest puncher he’d ever faced. “He’s very heavy-handed. Even when I was blocking the shots, I could feel them,” said Campbell. Of the knockout punch, Campbell said, “That was the hardest shot I was ever hit with. I tried and tried to get up, but I couldn’t. I felt him coming on, and I was moving back, and when you move back my body relaxed a little bit and that’s the exact time he hit me.”
Campbell complimented Garcia for getting up from the knockdown, saying the shot was “a beauty, but all credit to him, he got up and show he’s got real heart.” Campbell said Garcia is a talented fighter who will go a long way.
Garcia landed 94 of 293 punches thrown (32%) against 74 of 331 for Campbell (22%). Garcia landed 77 power punches (44%) against 51 for Campbell (30%).
Lightweight division loaded with talent
Credit for Garcia’s development in the ring goes to trainers Eddy and Chepo Reynoso at the Canelo Alvarez camp in San Diego. The father and son are giving Garcia the tools to be a superstar attraction who puts fans in the seats, just as they’ve done with Alvarez. It’s still early to declare Garcia a star on Canelo’s level, but he’s on the right path at just 22 years old. “Without the Reynosos and Canelo being on my side all the time I don’t know I would have learned all the things I learned,” said Garcia. “I’m always grateful for having such a good team around me.”
Garcia joins an impressive generation of young talent in the lightweight division (or thereabouts). The inevitable questions are swirling about who tangles next. Garcia called out Gervonta “Tank” Davis, but he also acknowledged amateur foe Devin Haney sitting ringside as a potential opponent. Garcia, Davis, Haney, and Teofimo Lopez Jr. are all under 25 years old and will be carrying boxing into the next decade. Eventually, they can all fight each other, multiple times, and they may encourage more young talent into the mix. It’s good news for fans and the sport no matter how it shakes out.
Undercard results: Alvarado brothers go 50-50
In an early contender for Upset of the Year, Roger Guitierrez of Venezuela (25-3-1, 20 KOs) won his rematch and took the WBA Super Featherweight title from Rene Alvarado of Nicaragua (32-9, 17 KOs) in as razor-thin a margin as you get. Guitierrez dropped Alvarado three times, twice in the third and once in the final round to win a unanimous decision by the margin of the final knockdown, 113-112 X 3.
Guitierrez caught Alvarado and had him nearly finished in the third round, but he couldn’t finish the champion off early. Guitierrez faded through the middle rounds as Alvarado regained his composure and crawled back round by round on the scorecards. His experience in numerous tough fights over the years came into play. Guitierrez suffered a cut over the left eye late in the fifth round, and he was fortunate his corner got it under control letting the fight continue.
“Come on, you can’t let this fight go! Three more minutes” Guiterrez’ corner told him. One minute into the 12th round, Guitierrez landed a left uppercut sending Alvarado to the canvas, and it won him the fight and the title.
Guitierrez landed 222 punches of 673 thrown (33%) and 163 of 351 power shots (46%), a higher percentage than Alvarado. who landed 262 punches of 643 thrown (25%) including 123 of 362 power punches (34%).
Felix Alvarado (36-2, 31 KOs) made sure the Alvarado brothers didn’t go home to Nicaragua empty-handed. Alvarado retained his IBF Light Flyweight title with an all-action performance over a determined but outgunned DeeJay Kriel of South Africa (16-2-1, 8 KOs). Alvarado scored multiple knockdowns, twice from left hooks and a third from a body punch. Alvarado did excellent work cutting off the ring and pinning Kriel on the ropes.
Kriel refused to yield. He left home to train in Las Vegas and had given up too much to quit. He had several good rounds but couldn’t compare in power to Alvarado. Referee Mark Caloy nearly stopped the bout at the end of nine rounds, but let Kriel come out for the tenth, then stepped in to stop the fight at 1:30 of round 10.
“He was a mandatory challenger and a former world champion, so I knew it would be tough,” said Alvarado. “I got a bit tired, but that was because of his experience. I also dropped him with a hook, and I didn’t even expect for a punch like that to land. But rather than keep looking for that punch, I kept pushing him to the ropes to wear him down. I’m very happy to obtain this win because it is a dream come true for the Alvarado brothers to fight on such a big card together.” Alvarado said he’d be happy to fight any of the other titleholders in the division next.
Alvarado landed 289 of 792 punches thrown (36%) to 158 of 940 thrown for Kriel (17%).
Middleweight Raul Curiel of Mexico (9-0, 7 KOs) remained undefeated, taking down Ramses Agaton of Mexico (22-13-3, 12 KOs) at 1:16 of Round 2. Curiel landed a left hook to the liver in the first round. Agaton survived, but he was damaged goods and his corner threw in the towel in the next round. Curiel normally fights at welterweight. The 2016 Mexican Olympian is one to keep an eye on in a competitive division.
In the opening bout on DAZN, Sean Garcia of Victorville (6-0, 2 KOs) got a spirited challenge from Rene Marquez of Nebraska (5-6, 2 KOs in their four-round lightweight bout. Garcia edged the cards for a majority decision win,. Scores were 39-37 X 2 and 38-38 on the third card. Sean, age 20, is the younger brother of Ryan Garcia.
Following the main event, Texas cruiserweight Tristan Kalkrueth (7-0, 5 KOs) gave fans just 50 seconds to see him, scoring a first-round knockout of Jorge Martinez of Guadalajara, Mexico (4-5, 1 KO). Kalkrueth is only 19 and one of Golden Boy’s exciting young talents.
Franchon Crews-Dezurn of Baltimore (7-1, 2 KOs) made a strong return to the ring, winning a shutout unanimous decision in eight rounds over Ashleigh Curry of St. Joseph, Missouri (8-14-4, 1 KO). Crews-Dezurn was the aggressor throughout the fight, landing solid hooks and body shots in every round. She took up the mike to thank the Texas crowd for sticking around. “Hey Texas, it’s good to be back … Ryan came out with a crown to shut it down, it’s a hard act to follow,” said the personable Crews-Dezurn.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.
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