It was Valentine’s Day and although some saw putting a boxing event on this day as a risk, Golden Boy Promotions looked at it as a perfect opportunity to further establish the brand of their fighter Ryan Garcia.
Ryan’s first round knockout of Francisco Fonseca made the gamble worth it as not only did it bring 10,310 to the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA., but crucially, the highlight video was all over social media Friday into Saturday. The quick and nasty left hook putdown had the likes of IBF lightweight champ Teofimo Lopez and Mayweather Promotions' CEO Leonard Ellerbe commenting on it on Twitter.
— DAZN USA (@DAZN_USA) February 15, 2020
Because Garcia has conjured heavy buzz, the cry for “what's next” popped up right after Fonseca went down. It had seemed as though the fight between Garcia and Jorge Linares, who snagged a W on this Golden Boy card which screened on DAZN, would land in Japan alongside Canelo (vs Ryoto Murata), especially with Linares being part of the Teiken team.
Oscar De La Hoya has different ideas and is now setting up Garcia vs Linares for a July showdown at the Staples Center in L.A. That certainly ups the ante as a significant win there will certainly makes those talks of a Gervonta Davis fight even louder.
Here is a recap of all of the fights last night in Anaheim:
Main Event: Ryan Garcia vs. Francisco Fonseca
With a Linares fight in the air as being next, Ryan Garcia showed right away that whipping left hook he has and it caught Fonseca off balance a couple of times during the first round. In the middle of the round, Garcia landed a crushing left hook, sending Fonseca down with his head bouncing off of the canvas. The referee stopped it immediately as Fonseca was not moving. Ryan Garcia wins by first round knockout, and he was genuinely concerned that his punch had gravely injured the loser.
Co-Main: Jorge Linares (46-5) vs. Carlos “The Solution” Morales (19-4-4)
Prior to the fight, Oscar De La Hoya made mention that the Staples Center in L.A is on hold for a potential Garcia versus Linares fight. Talk about motivation, Linares came out firing in the first round, although a head butt caused a cut to his right eye. Morales was very much in this fight as his counter shots were landing hard in the second round but in the third, Linares (below; all pictures by Tom Hogan) caught him with a straight right leading to a debatable knockdown. In the fourth round, Linares showed the left jab and followed it with a hard straight right hand which lead to a knockout victory. This performance was exactly what the doctor ordered and will make the Garcia fight “must see tv”.
Alexis Rocha (15-0) vs. Brad Solomon (28-2)
This fight was a step up for Alexis Rocha as he was attempting to graduate from club show fighter to legitimate prospect. Rocha was clearly the bigger man and was trying to use that body to land those hard straight left hands along with the counter right hook. Solomon was a handful last night as he was slick and at times, hit Rocha with some shots that made him think twice about coming in. Rocha was in tough but in the tenth round, both men went toe to toe and had the crowd on their feet. A counter right hook by Rocha sent Solomon to the canvas for the fight’s one and only knockdown. Solomon survived the round and all the judges saw this one 100-89, 99-90 and 97-92 for Alexis Rocha, who wins by unanimous decision.
Blair “The Flair” Cobbs (13-0) vs. Samuel Kotey (23-2)
Blair Cobbs has a larger than life personality and the hope is that his boxing skills can continue to improve in order to match it. Cobbs was placed as the opener of the main card but didn’t have that showcasing performance that most would have hoped. Cobbs (below) used his feet well but wasn’t throwing a lot of punches and that caused the boo birds to come out throughout the fight.
The less than entertaining fight went ten rounds and the judges saw this one 95-94 (Kotey), 96-93, 96-93 for Blair Cobbs as he is victorious by split decision.
Alejandro Reyes (2-0) vs. Nelson Colon (4-1)
Alejandro Reyes has decent skills but his punching power doesn’t match well with fighting in close as he found out right away in with Nelson Colon. Reyes was landing shots and Colon would walk right through it and land the more effective punches. In the end, the judges saw this one 40-36,40-36 and 39-37 for the winner by unanimous decision, Alejandro Reyes.
Bektemir “Bek Bully” Melikuziev (4-0) vs. Oscar Cortes (27-5)
Oscar Cortes was a last minute replacement but it didn’t matter as “Bek Bully” knocked him down with a short right hand the first time and then a left hook to the body the second which resulted in Cortes not being able to make the ten count. Your winner by first round knockout is Bektemir “Bek Bully” Melikuziev.
Evan Sanchez (6-0) vs. Daniel Evangelista (20-11-2)
Evan Sanchez came out to a loud cheer as he entered the ring to fight Evangelista. Sanchez started out southpaw where he was landing really good three punch combinations but when he switched to conventional, he was getting caught a lot by Evangelista. Towards the end of the first round, Sanchez caught Evangelista with a huge right hook sending his opponent to the canvas for the first knockdown of the fight. Evangelista made it through the round but in the second, got caught once again by a Sanchez right hook for the second knockdown of the fight. Evangelista got up but the referee felt he could not continue. Evan Sanchez wins by way of an impressive second round knockout.
Tenochtitian Nava (7-2) vs. Anthony Casillas (8-1)
Casillas started off the fight keeping good distance and countering well while Nava seemed as though he was waiting for the perfect shot. The second round through the sixth was a straight phone booth fight but it seemed like Nava was getting the better of the exchanges. The fight went to the scorecards and all three judges saw this one 58-56 resulting in a unanimous decision victory for Tenochtitian Nava.
Last night, GBP was banking on a good showing by both Garcia and Linares in order to setup a fight between them both. What ended up happening was that they both overachieved, setting up a mouthwatering matchup in July at the Staples Center which will certainly have the attention of the boxing world.