After being sidelined for 2 and a half years due to a contract dispute with Bob Arum‘s Top Rank, 28-year-old former titlist Mikey Garcia (35-0, 29 KOs) reminded fans of his immense talent, and considerable potential.
Garcia earned four knockdowns of Elio Rojas (24-3, 14 KOs), starching his bewildered opponent for a TKO at 1:19 of Round 5.
Garcia, whose last fight came against Juan Carlos Burgos in January, 2014, appeared to take the first couple of rounds off against Rojas. The 33-year-old Rojas was fighting after a similar layoff to Garcia, having last competed in August of 2014 against a 14-9-4 opponent.
Rojas’ lack of pedigree began to show in Round 3, when he was dropped twice by Garcia. Garcia was hunting for the finish from that point forward, dropping Rojas again in the fourth (on what was controversially ruled a slip by referee Eddie Claudio).
An uppercut in the fifth round would spell the end of Rojas’ night, and would formally begin Garcia’s comeback tour.
Having outlanded his opponent 42.1 percent to 28 percent, it’s apparent Garcia is ready for a higher caliber opponent in his next bout.
“Two and a half year layoff sparked a fire in me and motivated me to do the best that I could,” said Garcia.
“Elio is a tough guy and a former world champion, he didn’t come for a paycheck, he came to win.”
Photos by Marilyn Paulino/RBRBoxing
Milo Taibi is a freelance journalist from Brooklyn, NY. His work has been featured in SLAM Magazine, Complex, Yahoo! Sports, and more. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @MiloTaibi.