Garcia loses title at weigh-in, but wins fight on TKO in Dallas

Posted Sunday, Jun. 16, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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If Mikey Garcia had weighed a little less before Saturday’s world featherweight championship at American Airlines Center, he would have remained the champ.

Garcia (32-0, 26 KOs) won the first major boxing event at the AAC, defeating challenger Juan Manuel Lopez (33-3, 30 KOs) by TKO, 1:35 seconds into the fourth round.

Two right hooks from Garcia opened Lopez up to receive a short left hook to the jaw, sending him to the canvas for the second time in the fight before a crowd of 5,605. Lopez immediately popped back up, but the fight was called after a short inspection from referee Rafael Ramos.

“He was quicker than I thought,” Lopez said. “I thought I could handle him but he got quicker and quicker each round.”

Garcia vacated his title prior to the fight when he weighed in two pounds heavier than the featherweight limit. Lopez could have taken his third world championship would he have won.

“The belt is mine to keep but not in the record books,” Garcia said. “I was upset when I walked into the ring. I felt like crying a little bit because I wasn’t the champ.”

Garcia controlled the pace of the fight from the first bell, patiently waiting for his opening while working left jabs to the face of Lopez.

Garcia’s strategy was to throw the left jab, step back and follow with the right, which was focused on heavily in prefight training, trainer Robert Garcia said.

“As soon as I started connecting on my jabs in the first round I knew I was going to have a good night,” Garcia said. “I knew I could probably hurt in him in the later rounds. I didn’t know I was going to stop him in the fourth round.”

Lopez attempted to engage Garcia in trading punches, which were mostly met by Garcia’s stepping aside to regain control of the pace.

Lopez, however, was able to do a little damage, connecting 19 of 85 punches, compared to Garcia’s 13 for 33.

Garcia made his first move in the second round when he connected with one of those rights after a left jab and a quick step back, knocking down Lopez briefly. He stood directly back up and resumed the fight.

Garcia grew more aggressive in the third round, trading blows with Lopez on several occasions and taking one big shot from the Puerto Rican fighter as the round drew to a close.

Both fighters threw 152 punches, with Garcia taking a strong edge in percentage, 35-15, thanks to the 120 jabs he threw. The Oxnard, Calif., resident landed 40.

Judges Oren Shellenberger and Levi Martinez gave Lopez the first round, but Garcia took the second and third unanimously.

Garcia said he was glad the fight ended in the earlier rounds because he and his team didn’t know how his body would hold up after vigorous attempts to drop the two extra pounds he maintained at Friday’s weigh-in. He said those efforts caused him to temporarily lose hearing and the feeling in his fingers.

“It definitely affected me trying to make weight,” Garcia said. “I was pretty tired. Yeah I was dehydrated. We don’t know how the fight would’ve turned out if it would’ve gone more rounds. I don’t know if my body would’ve lasted. Maybe my body would’ve started to give up, but I don’t know.”

Garcia said Monday before the fight that he would consider a rematch with Lopez if he and his promoters believed it to be a good fight. He also said he wasn’t sure where is next fight would be, but it could be at a higher weight class.

“If we can stay at 126 and keep defending and there are options available we’ll stay at 126,” he said. “If my promoter decides the best thing is to move up to 130, I could also do thatn even if I wasn’t planning on doing that.”

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