Anaheim, Calif.–As a crowd of 10,310 people at the Honda Center roared in the ecstasy caused by the brutal knockout they had just witnessed, Golden Boy lightweight prospect Ryan Garcia kneeled in the middle of the ring, head down, praying for the man he had just sent to the canvas.
“I just prayed he got up,” Garcia tweeted post-fight, while also highlighting his 20th victory.
I just prayed he got up 🙏 20-0 pic.twitter.com/bOmGQbmAuF
— Ryan Garcia (@KingRyanG) February 15, 2020
“It was good,” Garcia said post-fight. “It didn’t last that long, but I watched a video of Sugar Ray Robinson, and he did this little feint and threw the perfect left hook. I saw it and went for the left hook. Thought I was going to go longer, not going to lie. I respect Fonseca and thank him for the opportunity.”
While first-round knockouts are not a rarity for the Instagram star, perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the fight was to compare what Garcia’s performance against Francisco Fonseca with the Nicaraguan’s former champion opponents. Fonseca (25-3-2, 19 KOs) lost a wide unanimous decision against Tevin Farmer in Dec. 2018 and suffered his first knockout loss to Gervonta “Tank” Davis in Aug. 2017.
As Garcia had stated in the build-up to the fight, he did feel pressure to “shock the world” and put on a better display of boxing skills than Davis, who took eight rounds to break down and stop Fonseca in his second title defense. By knocking out the former two-time challenger 1:28 seconds into the first round with a vicious left hook, Garcia can now brag about ending the mutual opponent sooner, just as Davis did after Lomachenko went the distance with one of his knockout victims in Jose “Sniper” Pedraza.
After the fight, current WBC Lightweight Champion Devin Haney crashed Garcia’s celebration demanding he gets the call next. While it is rare for a current champion to call out a contender, Garcia has the star recognition Haney could thieve if he defeated Garcia as he did multiple times in the amateurs. Though Garcia didn’t shy away from the confrontation claiming they could run it back in a professional setting, he then went to name other lightweights he’d like to face beforehand.
Of course, Davis, along with Luke Campbell made the list of names Garcia would like to face in 2020. However, according to Oscar de la Hoya, he has reserved a venue for Garcia to step up against Jorge Linares in the summer. Unhappy with his odds to fight the Golden Boy prospect next, Haney and his father rushed Bernard Hopkins and demanded he “Make the fight happen.”
In the co-main event, former three-division world champion Jorge Linares captured a tremendous victory knocking out lightweight contender Carlos “The Solution” Morales within four rounds to do his part for a possible Golden Boy lightweight clash against Instagram-famous Ryan Garcia.
Morales who’s ring walk featured his own corrido, had his guard up at the beginning of the first round as Linares pressed the action and aimed for both the head and the body with quick punches. In the second round, Morales unleashed crisps combinations on Linares, landing a nice uppercut that caught the crowd’s attention. With the speed advantage, however, Linares was able to counter Morales and land the better punches. The Venezuelan “Niño de Oro” landed a shot after the bell causing Morales to return the gesture and motion a type of “He did it first” as the referee intervened to send both men to their corner.
Visibly more comfortable with what was in front of him, Linares continued to utilize his hand speed to set up counters for the Mexican fighter, delivering a massive right hook that sent Morales to the canvas. Though Morales went to survive the remainder of the round, it was the same punch which dropped him for good once again, 2:09 seconds into the fourth round.
After the fight, Linares told the media he wanted Garcia next, as he felt his experience could test the young contender like he never has never previously been tested.
“Experience beats quality,” Linares told Xicana Boxing. “It also kills youth. It’s all a question of whether or not the fight is made, but it’d be interesting to come up with a strategy and a plan to beat him. Is it possible? Of course, it’s possible, but he’s an excellent boxer who did excellent work. Fast. Young. A kid who’s on the rise and is very motivated and is getting his career in the right path, but one thing is fighting with boxers who are already in the retirement phase and the other is fighting with Jorge Linares.”
Southpaw welterweight Alexis Rocha defeated Brad Solomon by way of unanimous decision in a back-and-forth 10-round clash to remain undefeated and retain his WBC Continental Americas Welterweight Title.
The obvious crowd favorite, Rocha became the aggressor early on as Solomon tried to use his experience to time and counter the young fighter. The former Junior Olympian maintained composure as the older fighter kept him on his feet and reciprocated the attack. In the middle rounds, Solomon got a second wind, pushing Rocha backward, but the up-and-comer adjusted well and
In the late rounds, both fighters trades shots in the middle of the ring, with both fighters going toe-to-toe in the last round as Rocha landed a series of hooks that would floor Solomon early in the round. Rocha continued the assault but Solomon failed to go down for good and finished the fight retaliating until the final bell. Though he was able to land some decent shots breaking Rocha’s guard, the Golden Boy fighter got the better of the exchanges constantly popping Solomon’s head backward like a bobblehead.
After 10 rounds, Rocha improved to 16 victories with the judges scoring the bout 100-89, 97-92, and 99-90 in his favor.
In the official undercard opener, Blair “The Flair” Cobbs edged out a split-decision victory against Samuel Kotey in a 10-round welterweight bout for the NABF Welterweight Title.
Cobbs wasted no time, firing shots with bad intentions immediately after the sound of the bell. As he taunted Kotey by dancing around the ring after every punch thrown, “Wooo” would echo all around the arena as fans imitated Cobb’s signature chant. Throughout the early rounds, the fighter out of Ghana chased Cobbs around the ring throwing wild shots in hopes to infiltrate Cobbs’sexceptional defense.
The woo’s turned to boo’s as Cobbs opted out of his usual reckless exchanges and utilized footwork to quickly land and get out of Kotey’s reach, using his jab to maintain distance while also effectively countering the majority his opponent’s shots. Early in the sixth round, Kotey landed heavy leather finally penetrating Cobb’s defense and landing double-digit shots for the first time in the fight.
Kotey’s aggressiveness continued throughout the later rounds, he was unable to efficiently cut off the ring and land anything of significance against the Philly fighter. The ninth round brought the best action as both fighters traded in the middle of the ring as well as against the ropes. After landing a low blow, cobbs a point off after landing a low-blow
The last round brought more booing as well as more as more assertiveness from Kotey who continued to pursue Cobbs in hopes to impress the judges. After 10 rounds, Kotey fell short with only one judge having him as the winner with a scorecard of 95-94, while the other two favored Cobbs with scorecards of 96-93.
As fans on Twitter criticized Cobb’s [erformance, he remained optimistic claiming he’s eventually make his doubters his fans.
“I’m getting better and better,” Cobbs told Xicana Boxing. “You can doubt me now, that fine. As you’re doubting me, sooner or later I will win your respect, I will win that passion, and give you the woo.”