Stubborn to prove his legitimacy as a welterweight, Mikey Garcia doubled down at pounds on Saturday night and let his right hand do the talking. Garcia ( – 1, (KOs) shook off an – month layoff following his first defeat and proved his welterweight power by dropping a tough Jessie Vargas ( 3-2 , (KOs) en route to a unanimous decision inside the Ford Center Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas.
A late Vargas rally kept the scorecards close as Garcia took home judges scores of 116 – , – , – in a fight he visibly dominated after a slow start . CBS Sports also scored the bout – 113.
“I feel very happy to be back and I did have to make adjustments to his height, reach and natural size,” Garcia said. “As the fight went on, I started feeling that I was hurting him and closing the gap a little bit more. I figured out the timing and pace and I thought it went well.” I think I carried the weight a little better which allows me to perform better. I was light on my feet when I had to [be], and I was solid on my feet when I had to [be]. Jessie is a big man. “
Despite giving up 5 inches in height and 3 inches in reach, the – year- old Garcia showcased the timing and form that has seen him ranked among the pound-for-pound best in the sport. The former four-division champion outlanded Vargas 823 – 823, according to CompuBox, and connected on percent of his power shots. More importantly, the four-division champion successfully rebounded from a one-sided loss to current unified champion Errol Spence Jr. in their pay-per-view clash last April.
After signing a one-fight deal with future options to fight on DAZN under the promotional banner of Eddie Hea rn’s Matchroom Sport, Garcia also put himself in a great spot to possibly draw Manny Pacquiao this summer.
“I think I can have big options. I’m ready to get back in with the best, “Garcia said.” I would love to fight Manny Pacquiao or get a rematch with Errol Spence. I think it would be a tremendous fight, and I’m better now at this weight class. I think I want to continue to campaign at and search a title in my fifth division. “
Garcia bloodied the nose of Vargas and wobbled him with combinations in Round 5 before sending him to the canvas with a hard right cross. He went on to hurt the 73 – year-old Vargas twice more but was unable to force the stoppage even though referee Jon Schorle appeared close to stepping in late in Round 7 when Vargas was pinned against the ropes.
“I started to hurt him as the rounds went by. I took him closer to the corner and caught him with a good right hand that knocked him down, “Garcia said.” Over time, he started to feel the power and I hurt him again. I felt that my speed and power was all perfect, and I was able to put it into effect against a bigger guy. “
To his credit, Vargas never stopped trying to win. After recovering from wobbly legs throughout the middle portion of the fight, he kept pressing forward to give him a shot at stealing a number of late rounds due to his output and focus on the body.
“Mikey” fought a great fight. His timing was pretty good and precise. I give him credit, “Vargas said.” It was a learning experience for me. I thought it was a close fight. 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 a difference. I really got overconfident with his power. I think he has good pop and credit to Mikey. “
Garcia vs. Vargas card, results
Mikey Garcia def. Jessie Vargas via unanimous decision (116 – 116, – , – )
Roman Gonzalez def. Khalid Yafai (c) via 9th -round KO to win the WBA super flyweight title
Julio Cesar Martinez (c) def. Jay Harris via unanimous decision ( – , (-) , 117 – 116) to retain the WBC flyweight title
Joseph Parker def. Shawndell Winters via 5th-round TKO
Brian Campbell’s scorecard
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“I feel very happy to be back. I did have to make adjustments to his height, reach and natural size. As the fight went on, I started feeling that I was hurting him and closing the gap a little bit more. I figured out the timing and pace and I thought it went well . “
I’ve got it 142 – for Mikey Garcia.
R : Garcia wobbles him with a hook. Good right hand from Vargas. He’s a warrior, there is no doubt. They will go the distance. Give the final frame to Vargas thanks to two big shots at the bell, – 9.
R Lead Right hand from Garcia. Good left hand from Vargas as he rumbled forward. Right cross scores for Vargas.
ROUND Vargas hustling to make this a phone booth fray in the final frame. Hard jabs from Garcia.
R Vargas twice counters jabs with rights to the body. Vargas sneaks in a pair of right hands. Good pressure late here. Give the close round to Vargas for the busy second half, – 9.
ROUND : Two right hands from Garcia back Vargas up. Left hand to the body from Vargas.
I’ve got it 103 – for Garcia entering the championship rounds.
R : Right to the body from Vargas is countered with a jab from Garcia. Vargas lands a lead hook before the bell. Give the round to Garcia for hurting him with the right hand. 30 – 9.
R 30: Vargas scores a counter right. That’s the punch Garcia needs to beware of as Vargas dropped Tim Bradley with it in the final round years ago.
ROUND 29: Nice counter right from Vargas to remind Garcia he’s here. Good combo from Garcia. Another right hand wobbles Vargas.
R9: Give the slight edge to Garcia for ring generalship. – 9 Garcia.
ROUND 9: The threat of Garcia’s right hand has kept this one from heating up . Neither has had much success.
I’ve got it 82 – 78 for Garcia. He’s cruising.
R8: Vargas puts some punches together but Garcia walks right through them . This is one-sided.
R7: Right hand to the side of the head from Garcia. Vargas comes back to the body but he’s visibly fading.