(Mikey Garcia drops Juan Manuel Lopez; photo credit: Chris Farina, Top Rank)
Any hopes that Juan Manuel Lopez would have half a chance Saturday night on HBO because Mikey Garcia struggled and failed to make the featherweight limit got cut down to zero after the very 1st round, the only competitive round of the fight. Garcia ended up stopping Garcia in the 4th round of a one-sided contest that was sad in that young-eating-the-old way.
MIKEY GARCIA-JUAN MANUEL LOPEZ
I actually scored the 1st for Lopez because he landed a few lefts down the pike, but in the 2nd Garcia's jab couldn't miss and a right hand dropped Lopez. Garcia's qualities only told a small part of the story. This was about JuanMa being a shadow of his former self, to the point that the dismissive word "shot" wasn't totally inappropriate. His balance was atrocious, he couldn't find the range (although few can against Garcia), he didn't respond well to being hit and was just all over the place. Everyone knew after that round that it wouldn't last long.
The end came in the 4th when Garcia landed a right hand around the top of Lopez's ear that badly hurt him, and a nasty left hook finished the job. Lopez somehow got up from that punch, but he was in bad shape and couldn't walk forward on the ref's request.
JuanMa was so horrible that it took some heat off Garcia for missing weight, and for paying JuanMa $150,000 for the privilege of not even trying. Garcia afterward explained that he missed some gym time recently due to an illness, so maybe this didn't sneak up on Garcia exactly the way we were told. Either way, accidental or not, missing weight is unprofessional because it's part of the job to make it. He said he could still make featherweight with the right training and diet or might move up to junior lightweight, but we've heard that kind of talk from Robert Garcia-trained fighters (Brandon Rios, a few times) before.
Mikey is the goods, no doubt. At some point, it would be great for Garcia to beat a marquee name without anything to diminish the wins, like this one's weight fiasco or the lobbying from his corner to stop the Orlando Salido bout after Garcia injured his nose so the bout could go to the scorecards.
TERENCE CRAWFORD-ALEJANDRO SANABRIA
It was a winning night for patient, precise boxers who do big damage when they open up: Lightweight Terence Crawford showed he was, himself, the goods in a 6th round knockout of Alejandro Sanabria. We already had a glimpse of it against Breidis Prescott in his previous fight. It was even more in evidence Saturday.
Crawford a natural counterpuncher, found his Mexican foe was going to try to counterpunch him, so he moved forward. In the 2nd, Sanabria timed his faster foe to land two big left hands. Crawford, as composed as they come, didn't blink, and in fact got even more aggressive in the 3rd. Sanabria bounced back in the 4th, although he didn't win it. By the 5th, Crawford was totally in control, and in the 6th, Crawford landed a doozy of a left hook that bloodied and dropped Sanabria. Sanabria got up, but was woozy and couldn't continue.
I don't care about whether I don't get to be one of the cool kids; I like Crawford. He's smart. He's sharp. He boxes, but he doesn't spoil. Watching him punch in reposition in slow motion is a lovely version of the sweet science. And he is ice cold in there. It's too bad he's in such a shitty division. He weighed 149 pounds Saturday, so maybe he can move up to 140 and make the division even better. As much as I like the kid, I can't say I'd want to see him against Miguel Vazquez, although I wouldn't want to see anyone against Miguel Vazquez. If he stays at lightweight, I dunno, Raymundo Beltran or somebody like that? All I know is that he'll be a handful for whomever he faces.