Mikey Garcia, who lost his WBO featherweight title on the scales, remained undefeated by knocking out former champion Juan Manuel Lopez in four rounds at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX.
The bout was televised on HBO’s “Boxing After Dark.”
Garcia, 25, utilized his superior skills in the opening round. He boxed from a distance, seizing up his opponent. Lopez, a southpaw, connected with a pair of lead right hands that didn’t bother Garcia. Both fighters exchanged heavy punches at the end of the stanza.
In round two, Garcia (32-0, 27 KOs) stunned Lopez (33-3, 30 KOs) with a double left hook. Lopez stumbled, the result of the punch - and bad balance. He tried to fight back, but was clipped with a perfect combination that put him on the seat of his pants. Up at seven, Lopez, 29, kept his hands high. Garcia, who won the WBO belt from Orlando Salido last January, maintained his composure and jabbed. Another opening didn’t present itself.
Garcia’s boxing clinic continued in round three. His punches were short and sharp. He’d step back from a Lopez punch, and counter. Lopez was lunging in, desperate to land a game changing punch. His chin was there for the taking. Two stinging hooks clipped him. Lopez gestured to bring it on, but the move reeked of desperation.
At the bell, Lopez walked back to his corner on unsteady legs.
In round four, Garcia’s precision punches rocked Lopez. A straight right staggered him. Lopez had no answer. He was two steps behind Garcia and trudging through quicksand.
Garcia unleashed one final left hook that put Lopez on his back. The courageous warrior pulled himself up at eight. Referee Rafael Ramos took one look at Lopez and mercifully waved the fight off.
The time was 1:35 seconds of round four.
“I caught him early on,” said Garcia in the ring after the fight. “That right hand in the last round (four) hurt him and that was it.”
It certainly was.
John J. Raspanti responds to all his emails. Please send all questions and comments to John at: email@example.com