Photo by Chris Farina/Top Rank
On January 25, 2014, undefeated WBO Super Featherweight champion Mikey Garcia (34-0, 28 KOs) scored a unanimous decision over Juan Carlos Burgos (30-2-2, 20 KOs). The event was held at the famed Madison Square Garden and was presented by Top Rank and HBO Boxing.
Garcia began the fight in his idiosyncratic way, fighting patiently and studying his opponent. Both threw punches, but landed mostly on the gloves.
In the second round, however, Garcia’s confidence may have increased too early in the fight. As Garcia came forward, Burgos landed a solid left hook on Garcia’s temple. The shot hurt Garcia, but he managed to make it out of the second on his feet.
After being told by trainer Robert Garcia to not get too confident, the younger Garcia began to stalk more tentatively. Garcia even landed a solid right hand that wobbled Burgos who, in true veteran fashion, held on to Garcia instead of risking a knockdown in an exchange.
Halfway into the fight, Garcia was controlling the action and boxing at his own pace, blocking and parrying most of Burgos’ offense. Burgos seemed to have lost all hope for winning the fight, as he spent the rest of the fight moving and avoiding any reckless exchanges.
Garcia remained the aggressor, but a smart one nonetheless. The left hook from the second round may have still been in his mind in the later rounds, as even his trainer seemed to suggest in the break before the final round.
“Don’t give the round away, and don’t get reckless,” said Robert Garcia, as he prepared his younger brother for the final round.
Indeed, in the twelfth round, Garcia continued his tentative approach and landed smart punches. The crowd booed and expressed their discontent, but it was hard for Garcia to land harder shots on an opponent who used his footwork to avoid risky exchanges.
The judges scored the bout (118-110, 118-110, 119-109).
When asked by Max Kellerman about how he will deal with future elusive opponents, Garcia responded, “I find my distance, my range. I find my timing. Timing beats speed.”
Garcia’s possible opponents, as Kellerman noted, include Manny Pacquaio and Yuriorkis Gamboa, both of whom can be very elusive against pressure fighters.
“We’ve got to sit down and negotiate the fight, and we’ll agree on the terms,” stated Garcia, who is willing to move up in weight to fight either Gamboa or Pacquiao.
Jennings’ began his first HBO-televised fight by using his footwork and picking his shots. Spilzka, whose Polish fan base made their support clear, was unable to close the distance effectively.
Splizka mostly pawed with his southpaw jab, which would have been more effective had it been doubled or tripled. Splizka made it clear why coming in without a strong jab is nearly impossible against an opponent with relatively good footwork.
Jennings then switched his style and started pushing the action, while Splizka worked off his back foot and moved effectively for a man of his size. However, Splizka displayed some bad habits, including constantly dropping his hands and leaning straight back on the ropes.
Indeed, in the 6th round, Jennings took advantage of his mistakes and landed a left hook to the body that knocked Splizka down. By this point, it was clear Jennings was winning this fight, and merely punctuated it with an eventual tenth-round technical knockout.
At the time of the knockout, Jennings was en route to a unanimous decision.
Top Rank also provided a live stream of its undercard bouts, which included a disappointed Seanie Monaghan (20-0, 13 KOs), who had hoped for a longer fight after Matt Vanda (45-16, 25 KOs) tore his bicep in the first round of their Light Heavyweight fight.
Puerto Rican prospect Felix Verdejo (10-0, 7 KOs) viciously knocked out Lauro Alcantar (8-1, 1 KO) in the first round of a scheduled six-round lightweight fight.
Alcantar began the fight aggressively, only to be stopped by a powerful left hook that Verdejo landed as he stepped out of range.