Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mikey Garcia slugs his way to WBO Featherweight Title

The WBO Featherweight Championship changed hands at Madison Square Garden’s Theater on Sat. Jan. 19 when Mikey Garcia beat former holder Orlando Salido by a unanimous technical decision after eight rounds. The bout was halted prematurely after Garcia’s nose was broken by an accidental headbutt in the eighth round. The ring doctor stopped the fight between rounds and the fight went to the judges’ scorecards. This was quite an anticlimactic moment though since it was a mere formality due to the four knockdowns Garcia scored during the bout and he won the title by scores of 79-69, 79-69, and 79-70.

With the win, the unbeaten Garcia of Oxnard, California, raised his record to 31-0 with 26 Kos while Salido of Mexico fell to 39-12-2 with 27 Kos. It was the ex-champion’s first defeat in his past six fights and he got off to a terrible start by being dropped twice in the first round, once by a right hand to the head and once by a left. The shots didn’t seem to be particularly powerful meaning Salido simply had no legs under him. He managed to stay on his feet in the second round, but kissed the canvas once again in the third from an uppercut. A left jab dropped him in the fourth round and he was so far behind on points at this stage that he needed a knockout or something very dramatic to turn the fight around.

However, when he managed to stay upright, Salido was often effective, especially with his right hand and it had the potential to be an exciting fight. That all came to a sudden end in the eighth round though when Salido followed through after a punch and nailed Garcia in the nose with his head. As far as punches go, Garcia landed exactly twice as many as Salido at 148 to 74. However, the 32-year-old Salido threw more at 406 to 383, but landed just 18 per cent of them compared to Garcia’s 39 per cent.

The 25-year-old Garcia said he couldn’t breathe properly after being butted, but admitted it was accidental. Still, it was a little odd for a pro boxing match to be stopped due to a broken nose, especially since it wasn’t bleeding. The doctor visited Garcia between rounds and then advised referee Benjy Esteves to stop it and go to the scorecards. The doctor, Robert Polofsky, claimed that it would have been dangerous to let the fight go on since it would be hard for Garcia to breathe through the broken nose.

Salido said he had a problem recovering from the early knockdowns and Garci’as lateral movement and speed were hard to deal with. He added that he got used to Garcia’s style as the fight wore on and was starting to perform a lot better until the headbutt took place. Garcia said he’s seen Salido knocked down before and he just keeps getting back up and tries even harder because he has a tremendous desire to win. However, the four knockdowns were just too much to come back from this time and with the bout ending with four more rounds to go, Salido ran out of time.

Garcia said he’s give Salido a rematch, but there probably won’t be much public demand for one or television interest.

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