By Marc Livitz at ringside in Dallas, TX. The crowd inside the American Airlines Center in Dallas was treated to a fine display of boxing brilliance this evening. Although his WBO featherweight title was no longer his, Mikey Garcia silenced the doubters who branded him as unprofessional and undisciplined with a resounding fourth round knockout of Juan Manuel "JuanMa" Lopez.
Garcia decided on Friday afternoon that he would not attempt to skim away the two extra pounds which caused him to weigh in at 128 pounds as opposed to the featherweight limit of 126. The twenty five years young fighter from Oxnard, California may have realized that the next division upward would suit him to a nicer extent. The WBO Featherweight title was therefore vacated and only Lopez could win it.
As a result, the main event of this evening’s telecast of HBO’s "Boxing After Dark" would either end with the featherweight championship landing in the hands of challenger Juan Manuel Lopez or float freely on its own until a new champion surfaced.
Much of the opening period saw the two combatants pawing a bit at the other. The occasional jab would slip through on either side. Lopez got Mikey’s attention towards the end of round one with a nice combination to the head. Garcia caught JuanMa with a snapping jab of his own before the bell sounded. Mikey’s jab was finding its way past Lopez’s right glove once the second round commenced. The classic "orthodox versus southpaw" battle at times meant each fighter needed to reach a bit to land a cross punch. Mikey was patient and sent Lopez to the mat by the seat of his pants. Garcia timed his jab and made Juan run directly into a straight right with about a minute to go in the stanza. Lopez quickly rose to his feet.
Mikey caught Lopez once again inside the first sixty seconds of round three. His right cross connected to the side of the head. Garcia doubled up on his left jab and turned them into hooks whenever he could. Lopez knew what he was walking into and was warned by referee Rafael Ramos to not push Garcia’s head downward. With one quarter of the fight in the books, the California fighter was in clear control. Another right from Garcia sent Lopez’s vision skyward about a minute into round four. Halfway into the period, a right hook from Garcia tagged JuanMa Lopez flush on his ear and the rout was on.
The Caguas, Puerto Rico boxer looked bewildered and lost. One spot-on left cross later and Lopez was on the canvas once again. He bravely regained his footing, however his eyes appeared glassy and his legs were far beyond the wobbly stage. He faintly raised his gloves for referee Ramos to inspect, but shortly thereafter the bout was halted at 1:35 of round four. Miguel Angel "Mikey" Garcia remans an undefeated fighter, yet one without a title..for now. His unblemished record now stands at (32(26)-0), while former world titleholder Juan Manuel "JuanMa" Lopez suffered his third loss, all of which have been knockouts and fell to (33(30)-2). The attendance this evening was 5,605.
Mikey’s older brother and trainer, Danny Garcia revealed the fight camp’s strategy once the bout had ended. "We practiced jab, step back and the straight right. We waited for JuanMa to come in", he said.