Mikey Garcia didn't just announce himself as the man to beat at 130 pounds in his debut in the division Saturday in Corpus Christi, Texas. The unbeaten Mexican-American star on the rise also made a strong case for pound-for-pound consideration with his eighth-round, body-shot knockout of titlist Rocky Martinez.
With a systematic dismantling of an action-friendly opponent who was never able to put enough punches together to get himself into the fight, Garcia showcased his full talents in the stoppage. Whether he was using the thudding jab to bank rounds in the early going or transforming into a counterpuncher later in the fight and picking apart Martinez with an array of hard right hands and short left hooks, Garcia -- who didn't forget to sprinkle in some top-shelf defense -- was nearly flawless in his execution.
Key moment: With Martinez appearing weary to open Round 8, Garcia connected with a damaging overhand right at 2:21 that proved to be the beginning of the end. Garcia swarmed in to facilitate Martinez's exit, seconds later landing a left hook to the body that floored Martinez and ended his night.
We've got your number: 45-8. That was the disparity in punches landed for Garcia in Rounds 6 and 7, according to CompuBox, when he began to implore his technical brilliance and take over the fight completely. In fact, Martinez landed just two of 21 punches in Round 7 as Garcia set traps and took advantage.
Last words: If Garcia showed one sign of weakness, it was when he absorbed a perfect overhand counter right on the chin in Round 2, sending him to the canvas for just the second time in his career. Did the punch reveal the lone weakness in Garcia's otherwise impeccable stock? The results were inconclusive. Although the knockdown proved to be of the flash variety, Martinez was unable to capitalize on the opportunity. In fact, out of respect for Garcia's power -- which carried up in weight with him beautifully -- Martinez was unwilling, and more importantly unable, to close the distance and do anything else of note at close range.