BACK TO K-9 KIM’S CORNER

By Steve Kim Updated on October 18, 2021

Freefall in Fresno

What was thought to be a garden variety tune-up/stay-busy bout for Mikey Garcia, instead became a disastrous night at Chuksansi Park in Fresno, California. The four-division champion had eyes on bigger names for his next outing, instead those plans were disrupted by the relatively unknown, Sandor Martin. 

The southpaw Spaniard boxed an intelligent fight and never let Garcia get into a groove. It's clear that he never read the script which had him playing the hapless opponent. 

Time and time again, Garcia would move in behind a double-jab, only to miss with overhand rights. There was a certain repetitiveness to his attack, that was only matched by the ineffective nature of it. Martin landed enough solid counter-punches to keep Garcia at bay for long stretches. As the rounds piled up, there was a uneasiness to the crowd that was palpable.

Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland and Matchroom Sports

Garcia got off to a slow start, and quite frankly....never got started. 

After 10 rather tepid rounds, two judges (Carla Caiz and Fernando Villareal) had Martin up by the tally of 97-93, while Zach Young was very charitable in ruling it a draw at 95 apiece.

Some may reason that Garcia may have suffered from ring rust. He hadn't performed since defeating Jessie Vargas. To put into perspective how long that's been, this was a few weeks before the Covid lockdown of 2020. Garcia is no stranger to long sabbaticals from the sport, having once been sidelined well over two years during his dispute with Top Rank.

So at age 33, the question has to be asked: what if it's just irreversible corrosion?

That maybe instead of just having a bad night at the office, that he actually has died on the vine.

To make this clear, Garcia didn't look like a shot fighter by any means this past weekend. But that certain spark that is there with elite fighters was missing. In short, he could never get out of first gear, and at times it seemed like he saw openings but couldn't capitalize on them. 

It could also be reasoned that Garcia was fighting outside his natural weight (he came into this contest at 143.5 pounds) but on the other hand, Martin was a hand-picked opponent designed to make Garcia look good. But this was probably a miscalculation as Garcia has always had issues with movers who made him re-set his feet and initiate the action. 

Photo Credit: Ed Mulholland and Matchroom Sports

To paraphrase what Duke told Apollo Creed in Rocky II: He's was all wrong for us, baby. We didn't need that type of man in our life.

Garcia has always been clinical inside the ring, but his approach to his career and the sport was clinical to the point of detachment. Boxing has never been a particular passion of his, but a well-paying profession. He is boxing ultimate mercenary, which is why he had no qualms about sitting out for so long as he waited for a deal that suited him perfectly. 

But you wonder at what cost? 

Garcia went to the gym consistently this past year-and-a-half, believing he was sharpening his tools, but his blade was dull this weekend. 

It's impossible to be sharp when you're sidelined for so long. 

 

VAQUERO

On the opposite side of the spectrum is reigning WBO featherweight titlist, Emanuel Navarrete, who out-fought the game, Joet Gonzalez, over 12 highly entertaining rounds at the Pechanga Arena in San Diego. For 'el Vaquero' this was his ninth outing (all victories) since the beginning 2019.

While Garcia is a sound technician, the 26 year old Navarraee is a hell-bent-for-leather gunslinger who makes up for any fundamental flaws with sheer volume and will. He isn't a boxing textbook, but what he is is a pure fighter.

Photo Credit:  Mikey Williams/Top Rank, here

And it's not that he just throws a multitude of punches, but he also does it from some of the most unusual angles and launch points. There is a certain price to pay for standing in there against him. Gonzalez -- who's face told the story of just what it's like to face Navarrete -- had pockets of success versus the defending champion but he could never break his will. To the contrary, Navarette would simply ratchet up his attack and overwhelm Gonzalez with his own two-fisted attack.

Photo Credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank, here

The type of effort that Gonzalez put forth was admirable. It's the kind that on most nights would've been good enough to have his hands raised in victory. But Navarette is a different animal. It's going to take a pretty special fighter to overcome him. 

 

DIAZ DECISION TIME

To be honest, nobody was really all that surprised when it was announced by Golden Boy Promotions that Ryan Garcia would be undergoing surgery on his right wrist. I know some will question this whole thing, but the track record is the track record.

So with that said, I hope that Joseph Diaz -- who was slated to face Garcia in late November -- tells GBP that he would like to proceed with the bout with Devin Haney (provided that the money is about the same, of course) and that his career is about his opportunities, not waiting around for one of the most unreliable boxers in the sport.

Last I checked, fighters fight, and if the money is right -- why not?

Do we want to see interesting/good match-ups, or not?

 

FINAL FLURRIES

The most impressive fighter I saw on DAZN this weekend was Jesse 'Bam' Rodriguez, who stopped Jose Alejandro Burgos in four rounds. Look for this 21 year old to get a title shot at junior flyweight sooner rather than later...Yes, it's true that former unified heavyweight champion, Anthony Joshua, is making the rounds to various gyms on the west coast and looking for a new trainer....Right now, there is no clear cut favorite for the Heisman Trophy....This warm weather in mid-October in Southern California is great... I can be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Author
Freefall in Fresno
  • Hosted 'the Main Event' on KIEV 870, and then later XTRA AM1150 ( a three hour show devoted to boxing) from 1996 to 1999.
  • Joined one of the first boxing websites, 'House of Boxing' in 1999, and then later became one of the founders of Maxboxing, that started in 2001, till his departure in 2014.
  • From 2014 to 2018, he was the lead columnist for UCNlive.com.
  • Was a boxing reporter for ESPN.com from 2018 to 2020.
  • He has written for Ring Magazine, International Boxing Digest and Boxing News.
  • Is the co-host of 'the 3 Knockdown Rule' with Mario Lopez, which has become of the most popular boxing podcasts the past several years.
  • Steve has also served as an announcer and analyst for RingTV, Thompson Boxing, 360 Promotions and CBS Sports Network.