Garcia and Vargas battle hard, Garcia scores only knockdown
By Allan Cerf
Former world champion Mikey Garcia got off to a slow start Saturday night against Jessie Vargas at The Star in Frisco, TX. Garcia eventually warmed up -flooring Vargas en route to winning the hard-fought fight by a 12-round unanimous decision.
Garcia was judged the winner by scores of 114-113, 116-111, and 116-111.
Round: 1: Three beautiful left hooks help Vargas seize round one. Garcia barely moved his hands. 10-9 Round for Vargas.
Round 2: While Mikey landed a couple of good hooks of his own, another clear round for Vargas. If only he could crack harder. 10-9 Round for Vargas.
Round 3: Even round solely because Vargas landed the best punch of the fight, a huge right near the bell to end the round. Vargas didn’t look quite the same after a questionable “clash of heads” instigated by Garcia. Immediately after, Garcia picked up steam. 10-10 round.
Round 4: Why does Garcia raise his hand at the end of every round? A big round for Vargas. Is Vargas fighting at a bit too fast a pace? Fine round, Garcia wobbled by the mediocre power of Vargas. 10-9 Round for Vargas.
Round 5: Huge round for Garcia who absolutely battered Vargas’ nose within a four-punch sequence which seemed to disorient him. Then Garcia floored him. 10-8 Round.
Round 6: While Vargas did a good job of rallying himself (good ring-generalship) it was a Garcia round, fairly clearly. Garcia simply hits harder – hats off to him – to a degree I didn’t expect. 10-9 Round for Garcia.
Round 7: Fairly even round until, at the very end, Garcia once again had Vargas in bad, bad shape. Entertaining stuff. 10-9 Round for Garcia.
Round 8: Vargas does a very good, brave job of rallying himself – but I had Garcia taking the round. Garcia too is tired. When Vargas created space, Garcia didn’t go after him, catching a breather. 10-9 Round for Garcia.
Round 9: I gave this round to Vargas. Neither man did much, Garcia must know something I don’t because it looks like he took it off, completely. 10-9 round to Vargas.
Round 10: An even round 10-10. Garcia playing it way, way too casual, even if the judges are disposed to favor him.
Round 11: VERY narrowly for Garcia. 10-9 round for him. Nothing too flamboyant from either fighter.
Round 12: 10-10 round simply because of two huge punches on Garcia’s noggin in a round that Garcia was winning.
Notes: Mikey Garcia, he of the legit fundamentals is also a brilliant self-manager. It was his decision to take a year off from boxing to flip houses, his decision to go to a “can’t lose” bout against Spence (if he gets beat down – he did – who cares it was expected against Spence).
His clever management ways continued tonight. He may not be able to make 135 and might not want to fight Josh Taylor, Regis Prograis, etc. at 140. At 147 he may have self-managed himself into a fight against Manny Pacquiao. If Senator Pacquiao catches bad refs as he did after wrecking Bradley the first time but still losing, then Garcia’s self-promotion will hit a new high.
* DAZN grades: Mannix C- Brian Kenny D- Sergio Mora B (solid B). Kenny said repeatedly boxing is scored round by round not by ‘impressions,’ glad my Twitter feed got to him. Beyond that, this motor-mouth hit a new low for compulsively taking both sides of the argument at every moment of the fight. Terribly distracting.
** Score cards were off in favor of Garcia. It was closer than this.