Mikey Garcia (34-0 28KO) defended his title by outclassing formidable challenger Juan Carlos Burgos (30-2-2 20KO) over 12 rounds. Some experts thought that Burgos would try to engage and put pressure on Garcia but Burgos decided to settle into a more tactical style of fighting.
Burgos had some success with this style early on as he hurt Garcia with a left hook in the last minute of the second round. Garcia recovered from the shot and began to take control of the fight with precise, hard jabs, keeping his defense tight, and exploiting any mistakes that Burgos made by landing accurate counters.
By the middle rounds, Burgos was visibly wilting as his punches lacked the same power and snap that they had early on and Burgos began to display a sloppier stance and footwork.
Garcia is not the type of fighter who will try to force the knockout. He did put more pressure on Burgos as it became clear that Burgos was trying to survive but knocking out an experienced professional who is doing everything he can to make it to the end of the fight is a lot easier said than done.
Nevertheless, Garcia continued to display his accuracy and poise as he steadily but calmly landed hard shots on Burgos, making sure Burgos never regained his confidence.
The scorecards were lopsided in Garcia’s favor with cards that read 118-110 (twice) and 119-109. The fight itself quickly grew lackluster after Burgos had his brief moment of success in the second round. Burgos was robbed of a decision win and a title last year when he fought to a draw with then champion Rocky Martinez. It is unclear where Burgos goes from here but a rebuilding process may be necessary. He is 26 years old so he should have time to earn another shot at the title.
For Garcia, he has stated that he would like to stay in the junior lightweight (130 pounds) division for at least one more fight before even considering moving up in weight. Potential matchups with Cuban standout Yuriorkis Gamboa and Japan’s Takashi Uchiyama (The only fighter this author thinks could provide a stiff challenge to Garcia) have been discussed although nothing is official as of now.
We all crave knockouts, especially when the fighter has proven he has devastating power. But, it cannot be forgotten that even those guys will need to go the distance a few times in their career. It is simply too difficult to knock every opponent out. Just ask Mikey Garcia.