ANAHEIM, Calif., February 14, 2020 – Believe the hype. Despite the doubters and critics, lightweight Ryan Garcia keeps on passing every test in high style. This time, with a Knockout of the Year contender.
Garcia (20-0, 17 KOs) delivered a stunning one-punch knockout victory at just 1:20 of the first round of his fight with Francisco Fonseca of Nicaragua (25-3-2, 19 KOs). The only opponent to ever knockout Fonseca up to this point was Gervonta Davis.
Fonseca was supposed to present something of a test for the 21-year-old from Victorville, California. But Fonseca barely touched Garcia in his brief appearance. With his enthusiastic fans roaring, Garcia found a home for his left hook on Fonseca’s jaw, throwing him straight back to the canvas and out cold.
Garcia threw 20 punches, landing seven of them. But he only needed the one that counted. It was virtually a replay of his knockout of Romero Duno last November.
“It was a good performance. It didn’t last long,” laughed Garcia, I watched the video of Sugar Ray Robinson before coming into this fight. He did a little feint and he popped with a perfect left hook. So when I seen Fonseca move that way, I faked him a little bit and popped him with that left hook. I was planning to let it go a little longer, I’m not going to lie,” said Garcia.
To his credit, Garcia didn’t celebrate until Fonseca was safely up, alert, and back in his corner. He greeted a gleeful Oscar De La Hoya, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, who might have been the happiest person in the Honda Center in Anaheim after Garcia’s spectacular win.
“Respect to Fonseca. They are great people. They respected me through the whole camp. There was never bad blood. Thank you for the opportunity so I could showcase my skills,” said Garcia.
Garcia said he saw the left hook was there, just as in the previous fight against Romero Duno. “I just needed to let him commit to a shot, let him get comfortable and I caught him right between the shot. It was a perfect left hook, that’s what they call it.”
Ryan Garcia: Bring on Linares, Campbell, Davis, and Haney
Does Garcia feel he’s finally fulfilling his potential? “You guys watched me when I was 17 years old. Now I’m 21, I’m a late bloomer. Now I feel my body coming in, I feel ready for everyone coming in. I feel comfortable. I’ve been in there with all the good sparring, I’m ready for everybody. I’m turned up, let’s go!” roared Garcia to the delight of the fans in Anaheim.
Lightweight champion Devin Haney watched the fight ringside and came into the ring. Haney and Garcia know each other well from amateur competition. Haney won all of their contests. The pair engaged in some goodhearted verbal sparring in the ring, and Garcia then gave Haney his due.
“We had great fights in the amateurs. No doubt he’s a talented fighter. Much respect. He’s got love for the game. I’m never a hater,” said Garcia. “But we need to get this shit going on. We need to get this shit popping. WE need to fight. We’re good f***ing fighters, let’s fight!”
Garcia said he’s ready to “beat Linares, beat Linares, beat Luke Campbell. Beat Gervonta Davis, and then get Devin.”
To date, Garcia has consistently delivered the performances he’s needed. With his flashy good looks, appeal to the fans (and not just the female fans), plus a massive social media following, he is the modern package of what a superstar boxer needs to be. Under the continuing guidance of trainer Eddy Reynoso and mentored by Canelo Alvarez, De La Hoya, and Bernard Hopkins, Ryan Garcia will have every reason to keep his career on track.
Lights out: Jorge Linares scores fourth-round knockout win
Veteran Jorge Linares did his part to set up the summer showdown with Garcia, and showed he still has plenty of speed behind his power at age 34. Linares (47-5, 29 KOs) stopped Carlos Morales of Mexico (19-5-4, 8 KOs) with a vicious straight right hand at 2:09 of the fourth round to set up a date with Ryan Garcia later this summer.
Linares took a few rounds to get into gear, but once he did, Morales was a sitting duck. Near the end of the third round, a straight right hand off a left jab sent Morales flying to the canvas, assisted slightly with a push by Linares as Morales tried to grab hold. He was fortunate the punch came so close to the bell. It was the same combination delivered by Linares to end the fight in dramatic fashion as referee Thomas Taylor waved it off when Morales crashed to the canvas, out cold.
“I’m surprised at myself because I know I can demonstrate even more than that. What’s left is for me to demonstrate I’m the best boxer. I’m ready for the best boxer right now,” said Linares.
After dropping back to 135 pounds following his shocking loss to Pablo Cesar Cano at 140 pounds, Linares says it was a good decision. “The best I could have ever done was go back home, which is Japan with (Teiken Promotions) Mr. Honda, with my brother who is now my trainer, Carlos Linares. I’m ready to show the best. I’m in the best moment of my career right now,” said Linares. “Going back to Japan, was almost like it provides nutrients, it makes me happy,” said Linares.
With Golden Boy Boxing promoter in the ring, Linares said to him, “First Oscar, I want to say thank you for having me in this beautiful place. I’m back at 135, I’m ready for the best, for the best 135 right now. I’m ready for May or June. I’m ready for Ryan Garcia, let’s see what happens.” What is likely to happen is a matchup with Garcia this summer. De La Hoya has reportedly put July 11 on hold at the Staples Center for the event.
Alexis Rocha wins UD over Brad Solomon
Alexis “Lex” Rocha of Santa Ana (16-0, 10 KOs) got plenty of work against a determined Brad Solomon of Douglasville, Georgia (28-3, 9 KOs) in what appeared to be a close fight after ten rounds. But all three judges saw Rocha winning easily with scores of 100-89, 99-90, and 97-92. Rocha’s victory wins him the WBC Continental Americas welterweight “itle.
“I give Brad much respect, he’s a veteran in there,” said Rocha. I definitely I knew the fight was going to be hard. I knew he was going to come very prepared,” adding he should have pressured Solomon more on the inside.
Solomon presented a solid challenge for Rocha after coming off a knockout loss to Vergil Ortiz Jr. in December after 18 months out of the ring. Without the ring rust, Solomon was more aggressive and willing to engage, but Rocha had more power. The pair traded shots for nine rounds. Rocha’s trainer Hector Lopez implored Rocha to pick it up, especially going into the tenth round.
Rocha delivered, landing a solid right hook to Solomon’s head. When he wobbled, Rocha closed in for a knockdown. Solomon rose and for the remaining two minutes, both men traded wicked power shots, with Rocha eating several on the way to the final bell. It seemed it might be the difference in the bout, but it wasn’t close in the judges’ opinions.
“Going in the 10th round, I knew it was a close fight. I knew I had to give it everything I’ve got,” said Rocha.”I was trying to headhunt too much. I have to give credit to my coach for calming me down in there.”
In addition to the solid win for Rocha, it made the quick knockout win by Vergil Ortiz Jr. over Solomon in December all the more impressive. Ortiz Jr. was watching from a ringside perch alongside Golden Boy Boxing CEO Oscar De La Hoya.
Fizzling flair: Blair Cobbs squeaks past Samuel Kotey
Opening the main DAZN broadcast, Blair “The Flair” Cobbs of Las Vegas delivered a thoroughly entertaining ring walk, adorned with a white fur jacket and heart bedazzled trunks. But the fight didn’t live up to the flair. Cobbs (14-0-1, 9 KOs) did just enough to win a split decision over opponent Samuel Kotey of Baltimore via Ghana (23-3, 16 KOs). Scores were 96-93 X 2 for Cobbs, and 95-94 for Kotey.
“I have to hand it to him, he had a heck of a chin. He just kept coming,” said Cobbs after the fight. “I’m practicing, I’m getting better and better every time out. I’m trying to be patient, set up shots. It was a good performance as far as boxing technique.”
Both men talked big about their intentions but chose to circle each other for most of ten rounds. The crowd shouts of Cobbs’ signature “Woooo!” rang out in the early rounds, but turned to boos when the action failed to deliver.
Kotey vowed he would knock the “wooooo” out of Cobbs. It took Kotey until the sixth round to show some firepower with two solid right hooks to the head. Cobbs didn’t wobble or go down, but they made their point. But there needed to be more of same. Cobbs was the busier man, but his punch delivery lacked accuracy or power.
In the ninth round, referee Jerry Cantu docked Cobbs a point for a low blow after several warnings about fouls in general. After the fight, Kotey won cheers from the crowd for his effort.
The crowd wasn’t having much of Cobbs’ explanation of his performance, either. Cobbs, who is a big wrestling fan, said he’s fine playing the villain this time. “I come and I conquer. It’s all about the passion. So give me the boos, baby! Wooo!” Cobbs is a draw and his fans love playing along, but he has to deliver inside the ring as well as outside in his next effort.
Undercard recap: Melikuziev, Nava, Sanchez, Reyes all winners
Earlier on the card, Bektemir “The Bully” Melikuziev of Uzbekistan (5-0, 4 KOs) only needed one round of his scheduled 10-rounds to drop and stop Oscar Cortez of Guadalajara, Mexico with vicious body shots. Melikuziev scored a knockdown and finished it up seconds later at 2:05 of round one. He takes the WBC Continental Americas title back to the Indio gym of Joel Diaz, where he shares time with fellow Uzbeks Murodjon Akhmadaliev and Israil Madrimov, who are also undefeated as pros.
With a huge crowd of family and friends from Parlier in Fresno County, California looking on, welterweight Evan Sanchez (7-0, 6 KOs) scored two knockdowns of Daniel Evangelista of Mexico City (20-12-2, 16 KOs) in round two, and the second via a solid right hand was good for a stoppage at 1:52 of the second round. It was his debut as a Golden Boy Boxing fighter.
Alejandro Reyes filled another section with his fans from Mexicali, Mexico, and they went home happy after seeing him win his third fight (3-0, 2 KOs) over Nelson Colon of Puerto Rico (4-2 3 KOs) in a four-round lightweight contest. Scorecards were 40-36 X2 and 39-37. Reyes delivered plenty of power punches and got in the kind of work a young prospect needs against a tough opponent.
Opening the evening, Los Angeles super featherweight prospect Tenochtitlan Nava 8-2, 1 KO) thought he’d fought to a draw with opponent Anthony Casillas (8-2 4 KOs) with scores of 57 even on all cards. But check the math – it turns out the cards were actually 58-56 and Nava gets the unanimous decision.
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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