In the main event at the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, TX, four-weight title holder Mikey Garcia came through a slow start to unanimously decision the always tough Jessie Vargas on the judges’ scorecards in front of a packed house of over 10,000.
Garcia, coming off a loss to Pound 4 Pound star Errol Spence last March found himself on the end of the solid jab that Vargas employed to mix with some accurate bodywork, obviously the teaching of his trainer Mike McCallum who was famed for his body shots during his own career.
Vargas continued to have success until the third which witnessed Garcia exchange big shots with the bigger man. In the fourth, Vargas, now fighting fire with fire seemingly hurt Garcia only for Garcia fire back accordingly with solid shots of his own.
Garcia continually gaining momentum, bloodied the face of Vargas in the fifth using a particularly impressive overhand right to punctuate his dominance, dropping Vargas with the shot which looked at the time to have sealed the deal.
Vargas had other ideas, showing a champion’s heart for battle to rise from the canvas but at the end of more punishment through rounds six to eight. Vargas sensing he needed something big to turn the tide, had a very good tenth, going back to his jab to control proceedings but it was temporary, Garcia finishing the fight strongly to win on the judges scorecards by 114-113, 116-111, 116-111.
“Thanks to everyone that came out. Especially my family. I love you guys. I am very happy to be back and happy to be here” said Garcia “I had to make adjustments early on for his height and reach. As the fight went on, I started to hurt him, pick up timing and I think it work out well. I carried the weight better; I was solid when I had to. I felt the size difference, but my talent took over. I think he felt the power. Every so often I would hurt him again. I felt my speed and power was perfect. I think I have great options, ready to get back in with the best. I’m looking to get in with Manny Pacquiao or rematch with Errol Spence. I think it is very likely with Pacquiao.”
“I got a little confident when I hurt him in the 4th round” said Vargas afterward “Mikey fought great fight, timing was precise, and I don’t take anything from him. I think it was an entertaining fight for Frisco. I think it was close. I want a rematch. I am very happy with my team; I just didn’t follow the game plan exactly. I am thankful to Eddie Hearn for giving me a chance. I think he’s a good fighter and has a nice pop to match up against some of the top welterweight. I thought it was closer than what the judges had.”
In the co-main event, Future Hall of Famer Román “Chocolatito” González knocked out WBA Super Flyweight Khalid Yafai in the ninth round.
All talk of Chocolatito’s demise from his two losses in 2017, dispersed with one of the performances of his career, leaving no doubt that the king was back and doing what he does best, exciting watching spectators.
Yafai in truth was never in the contest apart from the opener, the champion firing off a good jab to keep Gonzalez honest but in the second, Gonzalez took control never to seize the impetus until the inevitable knockout.
Round after round, Gonzalez wore down the WBA champion, using a hard, accurate right hand which rattled Yafai often/regularly. In the fifth Gonzalez continued his dominance, a clash of heads opening a cut over the eye of the challenger.
Yafai to his credit would try to turn the tide but Gonzalez was not to be denied, finding the canvas for some respite from the tidal wave of pressure in the seventh with Gonzalez landing the aforementioned overhand right. Yafai came out for the ninth but soon would be relieved of his title, following a right cross to the chin, referee Luis Pabon waved off the fight at 0:29.
“I have God’s strength and God gave me my title back,” Gonzalez said
Julio Cesar Martinez defended his WBC flyweight title against a spirited challenger from Jay Harris to record a unanimous decision victory.
Martinez’ aggressiveness was countered by Harris who would stay in the pocket at times, fighting fire with fire, both fighters went back and forth throughout to leave us all on the edge of our seats.
Martinez continually went to the body, mixing up the shots with hard two fistic assault that bloodied the face of Harris. Martinez looked for a stoppage that up until that point never materialized. Harris incredibly stayed upright, not just that but landing his fair share of hard shots to back up the champion.
Martinez finally made the breakthrough in the tenth, dropping Harris with a left/right to the body to send Harris to the canvas. It was a feast for the eyes of the fight fans who applauded every punch from start to finish, the judges rendering scores of 118–109, 116-111, 115-112.
“It was a very tough battle, look to fight title many times and there is no fear right here. There are no excuses here, I will defend this title many times, this was for Mexico” said Martinez “Congratulations to Harris. He was a very strong fighter and I want to defend against anyone, anywhere.”