by Tim Smith
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.’’