By Rich Mancuso
New York – Saturday evening at the Theatre at Madison Square Garden, Orlando Salido (39-12-2, 27 KOs) did not look like the featherweight who took the WBO title from Juan Manuel Lopez in San Juan, Puerto Rico back in March. Instead Miguel Angel ‘Mikey’ Garcia (31-0, 26 KOs) came to win and in the process broke his nose from an accidental head butt that stopped the fight on a technicality.
After a clash of heads in the eighth round, Garcia could not continue despite dominating the previous seven rounds.
“If I could breathe better I knew I could continue to fight,” said Garcia. It was a unanimous decision and I was beating him up. I did not know my nose was broken but I did feel the pain from the head butt.”
During the fight, Garcia scored four knockdowns including two in the opening round. Three judges scored it 79-70, 79-69, and 79-69 for Garcia when the scorecards were read after the technicality of the bout being stopped.
In the first of the three championship fights, Rocky Martinez of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, retained his WBO super featherweight title with a 12-round draw over the challenger Juan Carlos Burgos (30-1-1, 29 KOs) of Tijuana Mexico.
Judges at ringside had it 116-112 Martinez, 117-111 for Burgos. The third had it even at 114-114.
Martinez, (26-1-2, 16 KO’s) said about Burgos, “He’s a big and strong fighter but I won the Last three rounds. However, two of three judges at ringside scored the last three rounds for Burgos. There was talk afterwards about an eventual return bout between the two.
The second of the three title fights saw Gennady Golovkin, (25-0, 22 KO’s) the WBA and IBO world middleweight title holder retain his belts with a seventh round stoppage over the challenger Gabriel Rosado (21-6, 13 KOs) of Philadelphia.
Rosado sustained a nasty cut to his left eye early in the fight. With the exception of one judge at ringside, Golovkin scored a shutout prior to the stoppage at 2:27 of the round when Rosado’s corner threw in the towel.
On the undercard, Felix Verdejo has shown an immediate sign that he can be a potential star in the ring and at the Theatre at Madison Square Garden Saturday evening there is no doubt he can be.
In his second pro fight as a lightweight, Verdejo (2-0, 1 KO), who represented Puerto Rico in the 2012 London Olympic Games, made it look easy with a quick stoppage in the first round over Tomi Archambault (1-4-0). It took five punches in the round and a quick left hook that put Archambault to the canvas.
The official time of the stoppage was 0:21 of the round. Verdejo, was fighting on the undercard of the Top Rank HBO telecast that includes three championship fights, the main bout pitting WBO world featherweight champion Orlando Salido defending against Miguel Angel Garcia.
“I did not expect to do this so quick,” said Verdejo of San Juan. It was his second professional fight after taking one of three fights at the Olympics. While not confirmed, the knockout may have set a new Madison Square Garden boxing record for an early stoppage to a fight.
Verdejo, signed by Top Rank, is scheduled to fight again in San Juan on a card in two weeks.
He said about the Garden crowd, many fans of Puerto Rican descent from New York, “They helped me and I heard them. I did what I had to do. No, never do I expect to knockout out someone so quickly…”
e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com