Following a dreadful start as a welterweight, many were already dismissing Mikey Garcia off. After all, the lightweight and featherweight divisions felt like more his speed. After months of preparation, Garcia was ready to prove all of his doubters wrong. That included himself.
Inside the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas, Garcia beat Jessie Vargas via unanimous decision. The scorecards by the judges read 114-113, 116-111, 116-111.
“I think I carried the weight a little bit better,” Garcia stated following the fight. “that allowed me to perform better. I felt better. I landed on my feet when I had to, I was solid when I had to. He’s (Vargas” a big man, you know? Jessie’s a big man. The weight, I could feed the size difference, but my talent was able to overcome that.”
It was a tale of three parts. The first half of the fight saw Vargas (29-3-2) look pretty comfortable in the opening rounds. Vargas landed a few lefts and hooks that hurt Garcia (40-1), who was trying to find himself early. Rounds two, three and four were more of the same, with Vargas hitting body shots and pushing him away. Vargas hit a big hook and an overhand shot that affected the body of Garcia. As round five hit, it was assumed there would be a repeat of the previous rounds. Garcia, however, dropped Vargas for a huge knockdown.
VARGAS IS DOWN 😮 pic.twitter.com/fxHe6NNImo
— DAZN USA (@DAZN_USA) March 1, 2020
The 1-2 punch by Garcia may have changed the outcome of the fight.
From there, Vargas was visibly weakened. The four-division champion in Garcia controlled the next few rounds with ease, with combination shots affecting Vargas. His jabs were hitting hard, pushing Vargas’ head back. Vargas was looking like a beaten fighter, unable to answer someone who has never gotten a chance to properly showcase what he could do at welterweight.
By round ten, however, Mikey was not hitting direct shots to secure the win. Vargas landed a few body shots and managed to make Garcia bleed. Garcia did land a big right in the 11th, and Vargas landed a few of his own. The later part of the second half of this fight felt like all Vargas, even if Garcia was landing more crisp shots. The two slugged it out in the twelfth and final round, with everyone on their feet.
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) March 1, 2020
According to CompuBox, Garcia landed more punches (151 from 478 thrown shots) compared to Vargas (142 from 671 thrown shots).
Garcia, who is back to his winning ways, stated he was interested in going down to 140. With a win, however, he seems ready for the big fights. He was eyeing a rematch with Errol Spence Jr., who was sitting in the crowd. Also on his mind was Manny Pacquiao, who hasn’t fought since beating Keith Thurman back in July.
If Pacquiao is available, the welterweight journey of Garcia could become extremely interesting. Once ridiculed, Garcia has managed to put himself in a situation where he holds all the cards.
Vargas, who is now 2-1-2 in his last five fights, was interested in a rematch.
“I thought it was a very close fight, very entertaining for the people here in Frisco,” Vargas stated. “You know, I hope that they enjoyed it. I’m happy I was able to give them a good, entertaining fight and their money’s worth. I would like a rematch. I’m not arguing or disputing the decision, but I did think it was close. I think the knockdown made the difference. I really got overconfident with his power. I do think he has good pop, credit to Mikey.”
Main Card (DAZN, 8 p.m. ET)
Mikey Garcia def. Jessie Vargas via unanimous decision (114-113, 116-111, 116-111)
Roman Gonzalez def. Kal Yafai (c) via TKO (:29 into ninth round)- WBA Junior Bantamweight Championship
Julio Cesar Martinez (c) def. Jay Harris via unanimous decision (118-109, 116-111, 115-112) – WBC Flyweight Championship
Joseph Parker def. Shawndell Winters via TKO (fifth round)
Undercard (DAZN, 6 p.m.)
Diego Pacheco def. Oscar Rojas via unanimous decision (60-54, 60-54, 60-54)
Israil Madrimov def. Charlie Navarro via TKO (round six)
Alexis Espino def. Delvecchio Savage via unanimous decision (60-54, 59-55, 59-55)
Leo Ruiz Acevedo def. Dennis Knifechief via TKO (round three)
Jesse Rodriguez def. Marco Sustaita via TKO (round eight)