Mikey Garcia retained the WBO junior lightweight title with a unanimous decision over Juan Carlos Burgos on Saturday night at the Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Garcia (34-0) failed to record a knockout for the sixth time as a professional in a fight that had many booing the lack of action. He was able to consistently block most of the punches thrown by Burgos (30-2-2) and won for the second time in the 130-pound division by scores of 119-109, 118-110 and 118-110.
Garcia won the fight by landing 29 percent (163-of-567) of his punches. He also landed 24 percent of his jabs (81-of-339) and 36 percent of power punches (82-of-228).
“In the early rounds, I was working on getting the right rhythm, timing and distance,” Garcia said. “Once I got that, I worked on fighting at a good pace. Burgos is a big tough fighter, I expected him to go rounds and it did.”
Garcia fought at the same venue where he won his first championship in January last year, when he won a decision from Orlando Salido for the WBO featherweight title. That fight ended in the eighth round, when Garcia had a broken nose, but before it concluded, he had dominated things by dropping Salido four times.
Garcia was methodical early, but did enough late to continue his ascent and potentially move closer to an eventual fight with Manny Pacquiao within the next year. Pacquiao will first fight Timothy Bradley on April 12 for the WBO welterweight title.
However, before he could get a date with Pacquiao, Garcia may fight Yuriorkis Gamboa. Gamboa was sitting ringside with promoter 50 Cent and some were chanting his name during lulls in the action.
“I will fight anyone,” Garcia said. “Gamboa knows what to do — sit down at the table and negotiate.”
Burgos went the distance for the third straight time, but rarely put a scare into Garcia. The only thing closely resembling a threat came in the second round, when Burgos briefly dropped Garcia to one knee.
“He caught me with a left hook,” Garcia said. “I stumbled a little bit, but I was all right. I didn’t get hurt, but I came back right after that.”
In the third round, Garcia caught Burgos with a right hand that seemed to make Burgos less aggressive and cautious of Garcia’s power.
“He probably felt my power and respected that more,” Garcia said.
Garcia seemed like he was going to get the knockout in the later rounds, when he caught Burgos a few times in the corner with a few jabs and body blows, but could not finish it.
“He has a lot of ability,” Burgos said. “He’s fast and strong. Luck was not with us today.”
PETERSON VS JEAN
Lamont Peterson retained the IBF junior welterweight title on Saturday night, unanimously outpointing previously undefeated Dierry Jean in front of a hometown crowd at the DC Armory.
Peterson (32-2-1) rebounded from a third-round TKO loss to Argentina’s Lucas Matthysse in a non-title fight in May in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Jean, from Montreal, dropped to 25-1.
“I knew it was his first championship fight,” Peterson said. “It was his first time on the big stage. I didn’t want him to get confidence, so I got on the gas.”
Peterson, who turned 30 on Friday, won by scores of 118-111, 116-112 and 115-113.
There were no knockdowns and neither fighter ever appeared to be in serious trouble, but Peterson landed more and harder punches.
“I knew when I looked at him that he was pretty small and I would be physically stronger than him.” Peterson said. “He’s pretty muscular, but I’m a pretty good inside fighter and know how use my leverage, so I wanted to put my body on him and back him up.”
Referring to Peterson’s loss to Matthysse, Jean had said he would be able to take advantage of Peterson’s chin, but the champion withstood Jean’s best punches.
“The difference tonight was just a matter of experience,” said Jean, who was buoyed by a contingent waving Canadian flags behind his corner. “I leave with my head held high. My fans are with me, and I fought a hard fight.”
For Peterson, the win was crucial after the crushing loss to Matthysse.
“Every time it seems like I’m set and I’ve got things flowing, I win championships, there’s always what? Setbacks,” Peterson said. “So I’m built to get through setbacks and show people that you can get up and fix things. You can always come back.”
After an uneventful first round, Peterson scored with a left hook early in the second round, but Jean responded with a flurry late. Two judges gave Jean the second, third and fourth rounds.
Jean appeared to be tiring in the middle rounds and Peterson landed several punches with him against the ropes in the sixth.
Peterson continued to apply pressure late in the fight, but Jean withstood it. All three judges gave Peterson the final three rounds.
HUCK VS ARSLAN
Germany’s Marco Huck defended his WBO cruiserweight belt with a sixth-round knockout of challenger Firat Arslan in Saturday’s rematch in Stuttgart. The 29-year-old Huck put the challenger down twice in the sixth round with a furious onslaught of punches, but both times the 43-year-old struggled back to his feet.
Referee Mark Nelson stepped in to put Arslan out of his misery with 1 minute, 56 seconds of the round remaining.
Having already controversially beaten Germany’s Arslan on points on their previous meeting in November 2012, Huck took control of the fight from the fourth round onward.