Although Mikey Garcia (32-0 27KO) lost his featherweight title on the scales, weighing in 2 Ibs over the 126 Ibs limit, he clearly showed who the better fighter was in dominating former two division champion Juan Manuel Lopez (33-3 30KO) to a 4th round TKO.
Both fighters came out throwing hard power shots in the first round but it soon became clear that Garcia had the better footwork, technique, and hand-speed. This left Lopez with hardly any options to counter Garcia.
Lopez got knocked down by a perfect 1-2 combo from Garcia in the second round. Due to Garcia’s calm, patient nature Lopez managed to survive to the end of the round. But it was clear after that round Lopez had only a puncher’s chance at winning.
Garcia continued to systematically pick Lopez apart in the third round and won the round clearly. The end would come in the fourth when a straight right hand to the temple wobbled Lopez. The disoriented Lopez had his hands low enough to allow Garcia to land a thunderous left hook to the chin, putting him flat on his back.
The referee wisely waved the fight off in spite of Lopez’ game attempt to show he was okay to continue. The impressiveness of this performance is somewhat tainted by Garcia’s inability to make the featherweight limit. Whether this is a case of his body growing out of the division or an act of unprofessionalism on his part remains to be seen. However, it was clear who the better fighter was and it seems unlikely Lopez would have been able to beat Garcia at any weight. Hopefully Garcia will be more professional in his next bout.
Lopez’ days as an elite fighter seem to be over. It wasn’t just that he lost that was bad but how quickly and easily Garcia made it look that could be the deciding factor in saying his best days are over. This is a fighter who has been in many brutal wars with the likes of Orlando Salido, Rafael Marquez, and even Bernabe Concepcion to a lesser degree. The amount of punishment he’s received throughout his career may be turning him into an old 29 if it hasn’t haven’t already.
A long, long break may be what Lopez needs.
As for Garcia, he simply needs to make weight and people will respect him. He’s too skilled to be written off. Either as a junior lightweight (130 Ibs.) or as a featherweight, he’ll make an impact.