Garcia and Donaire Emphatically Answer Their Critics

by Tim Smith

Rocky Martinez, Mikey Garcia - Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland

Roman "Rocky" Martinez had the dubious distinction of being the only current world champion from Puerto Rico when he stepped into the ring against Mikey Garcia at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas on Saturday night. It is no longer a distinction, nor is it dubious. Garcia saw to that with paralyzing force, scoring a knockout of Martinez at 56 seconds of the eighth round to win the the vacant 130-pound title.

After getting dropped by a counter right hand from Martinez in the second round, Garcia slowly broke down Martinez and then brought matters to a sudden conclusion with a vicious left hook to the liver in the eighth round. Martinez crumpled to all fours. Martinez (27-2-2, 16 KOs) was frozen and could only wince as referee Laurence Cole counted him out in Spanish.

"I thought it was going to be a very good shot when I landed it," said Garcia, who improved his record to 33-0 with 28 KOs.  “I knew it was a good punch. I didn’t know if he was going to try to get up. I thought he would. But I could see his expression that it would be very difficult for him to get up.’’

Read the Full Rocky Martinez vs. Mikey Garcia Fight Recap on HBO.com.

Official Weigh-in Results from Corpus Christi

Saturday’s HBO Boxing After Dark telecast tripleheader airs at 9:30 p.m. (ET/PT).

The HBO telecast kicks off live from the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi when junior middleweights Vanes Martirosyan and Demetrius Andrade meet for a 12-round title bout.

In a rematch of their July 2007 fight, Nonito Donaire and Vic Darchinyan square off for 10 rounds in the featherweight division.

The evening’s main event features junior lightweight title-holder, Rocky Martinez, as he defends his crown against challenger Mikey Garcia in a contest scheduled for 12 rounds.

 

Official Weights from Corpus Christi:

Rocky Martinez: 129.75 lbs.

Mikey Garcia: 128.75 lbs.

 

Nonito Donaire: 125.25 lbs.

Vic Darchinyan: 125.75 lbs.

 

Vanes Martirosyan: 153.75 lbs.

Demetrius Andrade: 153.75 lbs.


View the full weigh-in slideshow on HBO.com.

CompuBox Analysis: Martinez vs. Garcia

by CompuBox

Given Mikey Garcia's willowy frame it was almost inevitable that he would try for crowns in heavier weight classes once he outgrew the 126-pound division. We just didn't think that the effort would come quite this soon.

When Garcia surrendered his WBO featherweight title on the scales in June for weighing two pounds over, the timetable was suddenly moved up. On Saturday, the 25-year-old will seek his second crown against rugged Puerto Rican Roman Martinez, a proven crowd-pleaser who is making the third defense of his second reign and his fifth overall.

Will Garcia's pound-for-pound level skills win out or will Martinez's determination and experience at the weigh prove decisive? Statistical factors that may shape the outcome include:


Read the Complete  Martinez vs. Garcia CompuBox Analysis on HBO.com.

Garcia, Donaire Look to Make Waves in New Divisions

by Nat Gottlieb

Mikey Garcia is consistently one of the best-prepared fighters in boxing. But for the first time in the slick, 25-year-old boxer's career he will find himself in territory for which no amount of preparation can guarantee a result.

Garcia is moving up. Not in stature. But in weight class. A featherweight since he was 15, the Oxnard boxer will be testing the waters in the junior lightweight division. His handlers certainly didn't pick an easy introduction to 130 pounds. Instead of a trial tune-up, he will jump right into the fire against an accomplished, reigning champion in Rocky Martinez. This fight will be a good indicator if the rising young Californian is going to be able to be able to carry his elite skills and dominating ways north of the featherweight division

Read the Complete Rocky Martinez vs. Mikey Garcia Fight Overview on HBO.com.

Shiming Wins His Pro Debut

by Nat Gottlieb

When Christopher Columbus set sail from Spain in 1492, he was looking for a shorter way to China and India in a quest to bring back spices and gold for the King and Queen of Spain. Some 521 years later, another explorer of sorts has also set his sights on China, but this time in quest of a different kind of gold. Gold in the form of a diminutive boxer from China, Zu Shiming, the country’s only Olympic boxing gold medalist and a certified national rock star.

Octogenarian promoter, Bob Arum, still one of the great innovators in the boxing world, trotted out his glittering treasure Saturday in Macau. Shiming, all 112 pounds of him, won a unanimous decision as expected, but failed to generate a lot of excitement for the nearly sold-out crowd in the 15,000-seat Cotai Arena, not to mention a staggering audience of reportedly close to 300 million in China that was watching their legendary fighter on free television. Only in the crazy world of boxing could all this pizzazz have been generated by a 31-year-old flyweight making his four-round professional debut!

Read the Complete Shiming vs. Valenzuela Fight Recap on HBO.com.

Four Questions From Macau

by Kieran Mulvaney

Almost by definition, HBO Boxing is constantly on the road, broadcasting one week from Las Vegas, the following weekend from Dallas, the Saturday after that from Atlantic City. Over the next several weeks, though, it is visiting locations rarely if ever touched on before.

On April 27, HBO World Championship Boxing comes from Buenos Aires, Argentina when Sergio Martinez defends his middleweight title against Martin Murray. Two weeks before that, Jim Lampley and colleagues will be calling the action when Nonito Donaire clashes with Guillermo Rigondeaux in New York City: in itself, hardly a novel location, but the venue, Radio City Music Hall, has only once before hosted a professional prizefight, when Roy Jones Jr. walked to the ring with the Rockettes before dominating David Telesco in 2000.

Before all that happens, though, a true precedent will be set – and one with potential ramifications for the future – when HBO2 airs a Saturday afternoon card from Macau, China. The card, which is headlined by the professional debut of China’s own Olympic boxing sensation Zou Shiming, raises plenty of questions, both inside and outside the ring:

 

Will Shiming Be Shining?

Junior flyweight Shiming is something of an amateur superstar, having medaled at three consecutive Olympics, including gold medals in Beijing in 2008 and London last year. He’s clearly accomplished, but at age 31, can the junior flyweight make a successful transition to the professional ranks? There is some precedent in the form of Rigondeaux, who was just shy of 29 when he turned pro but, because of his wealth of in-ring experience, was challenging for a title belt in just his seventh outing.

However good Shiming may or may not be, it’s unlikely we’ll learn much from his pro debut against Eleazar Valenzuela, who enters the ring with a record of 2-1-2. But, according to Dan Rafael of ESPN.com, that doesn’t matter one bit.

“Any time you have a fighter making a pro debut, the goal is to make him look good,” says Rafael. “The idea is he’s going to put on a show for his people. Potentially, it could have an audience of millions over there.” 

Read the Complete Zou Shiming vs. Eleazar Valenzuela Fight Overview on HBO.com

Fight Recap: Orlando Salido vs. Mikey Garcia

by Eric Raskin

 

Usually that first title victory is cause for jubilant celebration. Tears of joy, excessive whooping, an acceptance-speech-type thank-you list, covering family, friends, and higher powers-these are all standard operating procedure when a young fighter scores his breakthrough victory. But Mikey Garcia's celebration Saturday night at the Theater at Madison Square Garden was a good bit more subdued. Part of that was because Garcia just isn't the excitable type. But mostly it was because his shockingly dominant performance against Orlando Salido ended in anticlimax, a headbutt-induced broken nose causing a strange and premature finish and leaving all parties-even the new top dog in the featherweight division-unsatisfied.

With Garcia ahead 79-69, 79-69, and 79-70 on the scorecards, margins made so unusually wide by four knockdowns of the veteran belt holder Salido, the 25-year-old from California took the business end of Salido's head direct to the bridge of the nose late in the eighth round.

Read the complete Salido-Garcia Fight Recap on HBO.com.

Triple Helping of Boxing Kicks off 2013

by Kieran Mulvaney

Did you overindulge over the holidays? Have you made a resolution to cut back and stop spoiling yourself? Here’s a suggestion: Why not enjoy the feast a while longer?

HBO Boxing kicks off its 2013 season with not one, not two, but three world title fights on a Boxing After Dark card from New York’s famed Madison Square Garden on January 19. And each one of them promises to be a treat:

Rocky Martinez vs Juan Carlos Burgos

Junior Lightweights

If you want to see the definition of tough, the perfect illustration of the kind of pain and suffering a professional boxer must at times endure in pursuit of victory, watch Martinez’ brutal battle with Miguel Beltran in September, which aired on the Sergio Martinez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr pay-per-view broadcast from Las Vegas. The two men fought twelve bruising and bloodying rounds that could ultimately have gone either way, but resulted in a split decision win for Martinez.

His challenger, Burgos, has fought for a world title once before, in which he suffered his only career defeat; in the more than two years since then, he’s been on a roll, scoring impressive wins against previously undefeated opponents such as Luis Cruz and Cesar Vazquez, the latter by knockout. At the very least, Martinez is going to need to be prepared for yet another trial by fire.

Gennady Golovkin vs Gabriel Rosado

Middleweights

What you see is what you get with Golovkin: A technically solid but unrefined fighter with granite in his chin and dynamite in his fists. Fresh off his stunning stoppage of Grzegorz Proksa in his HBO debut last year, he takes on Philadelphia’s Rosado, who is convinced his more versatile boxing skills – and his recent run of upset victories – will carry the day against the undefeated Kazakh. It is to Rosado’s credit that the junior middleweight eschewed the offer of a catchweight and elected to grapple with Golovkin at the full 160-pound middleweight limit; it remains to be seen if that’s a boldness he will ultimately regret.

Orlando Salido vs Miguel Angel ‘Mikey’ Garcia

Featherweights

Looking only at each man’s record suggests a mismatch: the youthful Garcia has 30 wins from 30 starts, 26 of them inside the distance; Salido in contrast has finished second in 11 of his 52 professional outings. But Salido’s figures are misleading: the great majority of his losses were the result of being matched too tough in his early career. Since 2004, he has been bested just three times, all on points, against the likes of Juan Manuel Marquez. He has followed his last loss, to Yuriorkis Gamboa in 2010 with a string of stoppage victories, including twice over highly-touted Juan Manuel Lopez.

Garcia, who is widely regarded as a genuinely blue-chip prospect, likes to fight at a measured pace and break down his foes gradually; Salido, who fights like a steam train racing downhill with failed brakes, will test the youngster’s resolve in what could, with January barely half-over, prove to be a Fight of the Year candidate.

Gennady Golovkin: Boxing’s Best-Kept Secret Is a Secret No More

by Kieran Mulvaney

Gennady Golovkin - Photo Credit: Top RankThe images were from a variety of venues around the world, the commentary that accompanied them in an assortment of languages. Together, over time, they helped establish the legend of Gennady Golovkin.

Here he was in Ukraine, sending Makoto Fuchigami reeling backward, dropping him in a corner and then teeing off on him against the ropes, opening a cut over his right eye before the referee stopped in to halt the contest in the third round.

There he was in Germany, landing a short left hook to drop the previously-unstopped Lajuan Simon to his back for the count in the very opening frame.

Up he popped in Panama, where veteran Kassim Ouma took him into deeper water but as a consequence only suffered a more prolonged beating, his face becoming lumpy and misshapen until finally he was rescued from Golovkin’s fists in the tenth.

And then there was the amateur footage from the 2003 World Championships in Thailand, when wearing a headguard wasn’t enough to prevent future world champion Lucian Bute from being separated from his senses by a single vicious Golovkin right hand.

Taken together, they created something of an underground legend, of a Kazakh-born, German-based middleweight who arguably sometimes got hit a little bit more than perhaps he should, but who rarely had to worry about being troubled by incoming artillery because his own ammunition was so destructive.

And then, suddenly, the cat was out of the bag.

His HBO debut, in September last year, was well-deserved. And it promised to be a competitive outing: his opponent, Grzegorz Proksa, was a once-beaten, never-dropped European middleweight champion, who had avenged his one majority decision loss with a TKO victory. He entered as the underdog against Golovkin, but a live one; he at least would likely not be blown away by the Kazakh-born fighter the way so many before him had been.

And then the bell rang. Proksa was down in the first. He was down in the fourth. He was down again in the fifth, face-first this time, and although he hailed himself to his feet he was in no position to continue.

On January 19 Golovkin is back in the United States, and back on HBO, this time against Gabriel Rosado. Rosado, like Proksa, is a solid, highly-regarded fighter. He is on an impressive winning streak. He too is talking confidently of defeating Golovkin.

But as all 24 previous opponents have found, it is one thing to be confident against Golovkin before stepping into the ring. It is another thing entirely when the punches bounce off his iron chin and his own blows detonate with concussive impact. That is the challenge that Rosado will face on January 19.

And that’s no secret.

Garcia Faces a Mental Battle Against Salido’s Pressure

by Nat Gottlieb

Mikey Garcia - Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland

Despite having all the tools needed to be a star, unbeaten Mikey Garcia lacks the one thing on his resume that would mark him as an upper tier fighter: a signature win over an opponent who has already scaled that height.

Now, after 30 fights, Garcia will finally get that chance on Jan. 19, when he faces reigning featherweight champion Orlando Salido in the main event of a potentially sensational tripleheader on Boxing After Dark.

“We’ve been looking for this kind of fight, because I want to prove myself,” says the 25-year-old Garcia. “I am going to show people that I am the total package, and that I can beat a guy like Salido. Yes, he is tough and this is not an easy fight. But I am confident I have the skills and ability to win.”

Read the Complete Salido-Garcia Fight Overview at HBO.com