Standing in his corner a little over a year ago, Juan Carlos Burgos believed his dream of becoming a world champion was about to become a reality.
He had ventured to legendary Madison Square Garden in New York City as a relative unknown and fought perhaps the best fight of his career. Burgos had clearly out-boxed WBO super featherweight champion Rocky Martinez over 12 rounds. After a lull in the middle rounds, he found his second wind and picked up the pace.
The decision should have been anti-climatic.
But this is boxing.
Judge Waleska Roldan’s scorecard (117-111 for Burgos) reflected the ringside consensus.
A round or two could have gone the champion's way if one was feeling generous. (doghouseboxing.com scored the bout 116-112 for Burgos).
A unanimous decision looked to be forthcoming.
Not so fast.
Judge Tony Paolillo shockingly gave Martinez the fight by a 116-112 tally. As "boo's" filled the Garden, many hoped that Judge John Signorile would render the Paolilo card irrelevant.
But hope couldn't change the outcome as Signorile saw the fight as a 114-114 draw.
With a slight shake of the head, Burgos looked up in disbelief.
Fast forward to the present.
Burgos (30-1-2, 20 KOs) is set to battle undefeated WBO super featherweight champion Mikey Garcia (33-0, 28 KOs) this Saturday night at the same venue.
He’s moved past the disappointment of his last appearance at the Garden.
“That was a difficult chapter and whatever happened that night happened and I can’t dwell on that anymore,” said Burgos at a recent press conference. “You all know that decision is on my record and I can’t change it.
“The only thing I concentrate on right now is my future fight and that is against Garcia on the twenty-fifth. Nothing else matters to me.”
Garcia captured the title by stopping Martinez with a wicked body shot in the eighth round two months ago. The 26-year-old was floored earlier in the bout, but picked himself up and dominated until the knockout.
He expects Burgos to give him a tough fight.
“I know he will be difficult – he has had great accomplishments in the boxing ring,” Garcia said. “After his last fight, a lot of people thought he should have been the champion. It’s going to be a good fight and it’s going to be a good card.
“There are some really good fighters and Burgos and I are going to put on a great show for the fans.”
Garcia is a crisp boxer-puncher who packs a lot of power. His three victories last year were all by stoppage.
Burgos, also 26, feels he’s up for the challenge.
"It is a pleasure for me to be there (Madison Square Garden) for the second time in my career – especially against a fighter like Mikey Garcia who is a young champion that I truly respect because of all his achievements," said Burgos later during the same press conference.
“I have a goal in mind and that is to become world champion," he said. "I have to do my job to take away his undefeated record and I am working extremely hard to achieve that goal.”
The Garcia - Burgos world junior lightweight title fight takes place on Saturday, January 25 and will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark®, beginning at 9:45 p.m. ET/PT.