SAN DIEGO, November 9, 2013 – Mikey Garcia and Nonito Donaire both came to Corpus Christi, Texas on Saturday looking to make big impressions on the boxing world for different reasons.
Both scored knockout victories, but otherwise they didn’t have a lot in common.
Roman “Rocky” Martinez shocked Garcia by putting him down on the canvas early in the second round, sitting Garcia straight down on the canvas. Garcia smiled as if to say, “you got me.” He got up, shook it off, and never looked back. From there he patiently took Martinez apart round by round, piece by piece.
Garcia used effective hard right hand shots and left hooks, all set up by strong jabs that were not the sort of rangefinder set-up jabs so many boxers employ. These jabs hurt. Martinez did his best to get to Garcia, but Garcia’s defense was nearly perfect and he never got hit hard again after the second round knockdown.
At 56 seconds of Round 8, Garcia delivered a left hook body shot to perfection just under Martinez’s right elbow. He immediately dropped to the canvas on his hands and knees, and it was over. It was a punch worthy of middleweight Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin and to say it was highly effective hardly begins to describe it.
So figure out who’s moving off your pound for pound top five list, because Mikey Garcia deserves a spot. Bear in mind he also moved up in weight class for this fight to junior lightweight, 130 pounds. There is hardly anyone in the division who’s a match for Garcia at this point. He took the title from Martinez with the win.
A possible opponent is Cuban Yuriorkis Gamboa. Garcia said in the post-fight news conference Gamboa wouldn’t want to come down to 135 pounds. Let’s hope he’s wrong. Garcia vs. Gamboa would be a fight well worth seeing.
Nonito Donaire also moved up in weight class for his rematch tonight with Vic Darchinyan, six years in the making since Donaire’s spectacular knockout as an underdog in 2007. Donaire, Fighter of the Year in 2012, suffered his first loss earlier this year to Guillermo Rigondeaux, ended up taking seven months off and seemed in danger of losing his focus and his momentum.
The Filipino Flash seemed uncharacteristically cautious and deliberate against Darchinyan, who was active and connecting with solid punches. He looked like he might get his long awaited revenge against Donaire. Donaire’s trainer Robert Garcia implored Donaire before the ninth round of the ten round fight to pick it up.
Out of nowhere, Donaire dug down and made it happen. He managed to land a terrific left hook, and then a straight right that put Darchinyan down. He got up quickly, but his legs weren’t under him. Donaire pressed forward, and Darchinyan put himself in the corner, partly to hold himself up and try to survive the round. Donaire threw serious bombs with right and left hands, and referee Laurence Cole stopped the fight at 2:06 of the ninth round.
As Donaire returned to his corner, Garcia embraced his fighter, elated with the victory. Donaire’s wife Rachel handed him his three-month old son Jarel, whose name he wore on his trunks. He lifted the boy up over his head as his victory was officially announced.
Donaire told HBO’s Max Kellerman after the fight it was difficult to find his motivation. “To be honest with you, I tried to work hard every day in the gym to get back. It was hard for me to be better when part of you wants to do something different. When he hit my cheek he felt like he broke my cheek. I thoughy, “This is it, this is it.” I didn’t want to quit.”
Donaire says he’d like a rematch with Guillermo Rigondeaux next to avenge his one loss. Not so fast there, Flash, you were behind on two scorecards and tied on the third before the fight ended. You may want another tune-up fight first before going after the Cuban again.
In the televised undercard, neither Demetrius Andrade or Vanes Martirosyan did much to energize the Corpus Christi crowd. Andrade won a split decision to remain undefeated, although he should have won on all cards and by a greater margin. This is why you don’t let a fight go to the judges if you can help it. There was more action at the weigh-in scuffle than in this bout.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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