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Sunday, June 16, 2013
Book it: Mikey Garcia is headed to 130 pounds

By Calvin Watkins


DALLAS -- The extra weight Mikey Garcia kept on in failing to make the mandatory 126-pound weight limit meant something on Saturday night.

It allowed Garcia to put forth a dominant performance against Juan Manuel Lopez to remain undefeated by scoring a TKO at 1:34 of the fourth round at the American Airlines Center in a featherweight title bout.

Garcia's victory means he most likely will leave the featherweight division and move to super featherweight.

Garcia (32-0, 27 KOs) lost his belt on the scales on Friday afternoon at the American Airlines Center when he failed to make weight. He had to vacate the title and give his opponent a six-figure settlement as punishment for the extra weight.

"Well, the belt, it's mine to keep," Garcia said. "It's on the record books now, but sadly I didn't expect that. It does upset me. I was actually walking to the weigh-in and I was upset, and I was crying a little bit that I was no longer champion."

In the ring, Garcia won all four rounds, dropping Lopez twice as he used a stifling jab to set up the knockdowns.

The first knockdown came on a straight right that sent Lopez down in the second round. The final knockdown was set up by a straight right hand followed by a left hook to the nose, sending Lopez flat to his back. Over nearly four rounds, Garcia's right hand produced swelling under both of Lopez's eyes.

It was easy to see that Garcia was the heavier man and that staying at 126 pounds is no longer in his future.

A potential fight with super featherweight titlist Rocky Martinez could be in the works for Garcia by the end of the year.

If you don't believe Garcia is ready to move up, review his work from Saturday night:

His punches, no matter how long or short, came with power and pushed Lopez back. Garcia weighed 141 pounds on Saturday night, and his trainer and older brother, Robert Garcia, said the added weight didn't affect his fighter.

Lopez, on the other hand, felt the effects quickly.

"I thought I hit him with a couple of shots and he took them very well," Lopez said through an interpreter. "It surprised me and it let me know he was a lot bigger and a lot stronger. I was hoping to take him in the later rounds, hoping he would get tired for making the weight, but it didn't work out that way."

Garcia normally takes his time when he fights. He waits for his opponent to make mistakes before taking over. Saturday night, he started faster, throwing a jab then stepping away and waiting for Lopez to do something.

Lopez wanted to wear his opponent down but couldn't because Garcia's punches were wearing him down instead.

When his night was over, Garcia was talking about staying at featherweight. But that's not happening if he wants to continue to struggle to make the weight. He says he felt dizzy at times when he tried to make weight.

"I feel like I could fight here and regain my title," he said. "But there is still an option to move up to 130, and if I decide to stay at 130 because I feel comfortable there after I try it, I may decide to stay there. But I really want to come back to 126. I think this is where I belong. I'm the featherweight champion of the world, and I think this is where I belong."

That might still be true in Garcia's mind. But his body, and the reality of the situation, say he's moving up.