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.