Garcia outpoints Burgos to keep WBO junior lightweight title
NEW YORK (AP)
Mikey Garcia retained the WBO junior lightweight title with a unanimous decision over Juan Carlos Burgos on Saturday night at the Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Garcia (34-0) failed to record a knockout for the sixth time as a professional in a fight that had many booing the lack of action. He was able to consistently block most of the punches thrown by Burgos (30-2-2) and won for the second time in the 130-pound division by scores of 119-109, 118-110 and 118-110.
Garcia won the fight by landing 29 percent (163-of-567) of his punches. He also landed 24 percent of his jabs (81-of-339) and 36 percent of power punches (82-of-228).
"In the early rounds, I was working on getting the right rhythm, timing and distance," Garcia said. "Once I got that, I worked on fighting at a good pace. Burgos is a big tough fighter, I expected him to go rounds and it did."
Garcia fought at the same venue where he won his first championship last January with a decision over Orlando Salido for the WBO featherweight title. That fight ended in the eighth round when Garcia had a broken nose but before it concluded he had dominated things by dropping Salido four times.
Garcia was methodical early but did enough late to continue his ascent and potentially move closer to an eventual fight with Manny Pacquiao within the next year. Pacquiao will first fight Timothy Bradley on April 12 for the WBO welterweight title.
However, before he could get a date with Pacquiao, Garcia may fight Yuriorkis Gamboa. Gamboa was sitting ringside with promoter 50 cent and some were chanting his name during lulls in the action.
"I will fight anyone," Garcia said. "Gamboa knows what to do — sit down at the table and negotiate."
Burgos went the distance for the third straight time but rarely put a scare into Garcia. The only thing closely resembling a threat came in the second round when Burgos briefly dropped Garcia to one knee.
"He caught me with a left hook," Garcia said. "I stumbled a little bit but I was all right. I didn't get hurt but I came back right after that."
In the third round, Garcia caught Burgos with a right hand that seemed. That seemed to make Burgos less aggressive and cautious of Garcia's power.
"He probably felt my power and respected that more," Garcia said.
Garcia seemed like he was going to get the knock out in the later rounds when he caught Burgos a few times in the corner with a few jabs and body blows but could not finish it.
"He has a lot of ability," Burgos said. "He's fast and strong. Luck was not with us today."
On the undercard, Bryant Jennings (18-0) recorded his 10th knockout at 2:20 of the 10th round, beating Poland's Artur Szpilka (16-1) in a non-championship heavyweight bout.
Jennings had the faster hands throughout the fight but could not come close to ending the fight until the final round. He nearly finished the fight with a little over a minute left in the final round by landing a hard left hook but the fight continued for another 30 seconds.
It ended when Jennings landed an even harder left shot that hit Szpilka across the face, forcing him to cling to the ropes and prompting referee Mike Ortega to stop the fight.