Mikey Garcia stopped Juan Manuel Lopez in the fourth round on Saturday, leaving the WBO featherweight title vacant after Garcia failed to make weight.
Garcia (32-0) weighed in at 128 pounds (58kg) on Friday, two pounds over the featherweight limit. Lopez weighed in at 125.5 pounds (57kg). Even though he tried to shed a couple pounds before the weigh-in, Garcia knew it was likely he was going to have to forfeit his title.
“The disappointment was there because I lost my title,” Garcia said. “I was crying a little bit because I knew I wasn’t the champion, but everybody got a chance to see I’m a good fighter. This was a satisfying victory.”
Garcia put Lopez on the ground with a strong left-handed blow 1 minute, 34 seconds into the fourth round for his 27th career knockout.
Lopez (33-3) would have regained the title with a win.
Garcia won the title from Orlando Salido on a unanimous decision in New York on Jan. 19. However, the title reign was short-lived after Garcia did not make weight.
The only two losses of Lopez’s career were to Salido. The first one cost him the WBO belt, and the second led to a one-year suspension by Puerto Rican boxing officials when he accused the referee who stopped the fight of betting on the match.
Lopez had won twice since his one-year ban ended, beating Aldimar Silva Santos in February and knocking out Eugenio Lopez in an undercard bout in Mexico City in April.
With a majority of fans chanting his name early, the 25-year-old Garcia came out and landed a series of jabs in the first round.
In the second round, Garcia knocked Lopez down with a right cross in the second round. Lopez quickly rose to his feet and completed out the round. Garcia finished off the 29-year-old Lopez two rounds later.
“I was able to land my jab and stand pretty comfortable,” Garcia said. “When I knocked him down, that gave me confidence that I could put him out early.”
Lopez appeared wobbly early in the fourth after Garcia landed a combination of punches. Garcia finished him off with a powerful left cross. Lopez slowly got up and referee Rafael Ramos quickly called the match.
“We executed perfectly,” said Robert Garcia, Mikey’s older brother and co-trainer.
On the undercard, Terence Crawford (21-0) won the vacant NABO lightweight title, stopping Alejandro Sanabria (34-2-1) in the sixth round. Crawford dropped Sanabria with a left hook 17 seconds into the round.
Sanabria got up, but the referee called the fight to give Crawford his 16th knockout victory.