Roberto Garcia Steps In Late And Gets A Win

The role of the late replacement is supposed to be clear. They are supposed to show up, fight hard, and lose. Apparently, no one told Roberto Garcia that. In an excellent Friday Night Fights main event on ESPN2 from Chicago, Garcia (34-3 22 KO) outworked, outlanded and generally outfought Norberto Gonzalez (20-3 13 KO) in a wonderful middleweight fight. The official verdict was a split decision for Garcia by scores of 94-95, 96-93 and 95-94. I had it a bit wider at 96-92 for Garcia.

The early portions of the fight belonged to Gonzalez, as he controlled distance and pace, countering smartly and landing cleanly. By the 3rd round, though, Garcia was beginning to heat up. Throughout the next seven rounds, Garcia applied pressure intelligently and relentlessly. His left hook was particularly effective and he forced Gonzalez to fight off the ropes for long stretches. The only break in the action occurred in the 8th round, as referee (and Uncle Fester lookalike) Celestino Ruiz halted the action to deduct a point from Garcia. I don’t recall having heard a warning, so the point deduction seemed unfairly punitive.

Neither man damaged their stock with their showing tonight, but Garcia definitely raised his profile. At 33, his window to make big fights is closing, but an another FNF appearance or role as a presumptive victim on an HBO or Showtime telecast are certainly not out of the question.

In the co-feature, featherweight tongue twister Kamil Laszcyk (16-0 7 KOs) out ranked and out fought Daniel “El General” Diaz (20-6-1 14 KOs) by scores of 79-72 (twice) and 78-73. I had it closer at 77-74, but the right guy got the nod. It was a fun scrap between two tough but flawed fighters.

Laszczyk looked like he might end matters early when he dropped Diaz at the end of the 1st round, but Diaz would not go away. He clawed his way back into the fight, and I saw him winning the last three of the last four rounds.

Laszcyzk showed a varied and sharp offensive arsenal but clearly has some issues to be addressed. First: head movement. He has none. Second: footwork. His extremely wide stance helps with balance, but slows him down noticeably. If he is to reach the potential that some think he has, these issues will need to be handled.

ESPN’s coverage of the impending Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley rematch was interesting for a variety of reasons. Not the least of which was Bob Arum comparing Floyd Mayweather to Adolph Hitler. I appreciate the Bob-father as much as the next guy, but it was a ridiculous analogy. Additionally, his assertion that Mayweather won’t fight a fast southpaw is flimsy. Mayweather didn’t have much trouble with Zab Judah, who, despite being a complete head case, is fast and a southpaw. I don’t know why Mayweather-Pacquiao didn’t happen when it would have been a great fight (2009-2011). I don’t care anymore. That fight died long ago.

Rabies Watch 2014: FNF’s Teddy Atlas behaved like a sane human being. I was disappointed by his lack of psychosis.