In the Showtime TV opener, Mikey Garcia took on Dejan Zlaticanin in a 135 pound faceoff, with Garcia seeking to take the WBC crown held by the only active boxer of note hailing from Montenegro.
He didn't take it, he snatched it viciously.
Garcia (35-0 with 29 KOs; WBC No 2; ex feather and junior lightweight champ), who sat out a couple years in a contract dispute with his ex promoter, looked sharp in his comeback bout and sharper tonight in Las Vegas.
He dropped and stopped Z in the third, off a right uppercut-left hook-right hand coup de grace, after Z lunged in.
Z went down real hard and lay there. Oxygen was administered to the loser. But after two minutes, he was up. The end came, via KO, at 2:21 of the third.
In the first, Z (18-0 with 11 KOs entering) the lefty went forward and Mikey used movement to stay out of the fray. Mikey, a winner of belts in 3 classes, used a persistent jab and clanged with rights from early on. He came in looking to start pretty quick against a guy who likes to start quick.
In the second, Garcia upped it a notch. He stayed in the pocket as Z advanced, let the distance close, the better to fire off quick. One twos, and one two ones from Mikey were winning the round.
In the third, Mikey cranked jabs and the lefty wasn’t able to counter quickly with his left hand. Down went Z, then, and bang, and it was over.