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Saturday, January 25, 2014
Garcia gets job done, but little more

By Kieran Mulvaney
ESPN.com

NEW YORK -- If there is any cause for Juan Carlos Burgos to celebrate tonight, it's that he succeeded where every other Mikey Garcia opponent has failed over the past four-plus years, and extended Garcia the full scheduled distance. It is likely small consolation for him.

Burgos had his moments in the early going here at the Theater at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, boxing well from distance, making the most of his reach advantage and even catching Garcia with a good left hook in the second round that hurt the man from Oxnard, Calif., and threatened to put him down.

Burgos/Garcia
Juan Carlos Burgos, right, staggered Mikey Garcia in the second round Saturday and, overall, made the 130-pound titlist appear less than extraordinary.

But once Garcia had figured Burgos out, once he had his timing down and closed the distance at will, there was only ever going to be one winner. Garcia was relentless in his pursuit, and Burgos was unable to turn the tide of the contest back in his favor.

What he was able to do, however, was limit the damage. By circling and moving, rarely allowing himself to be dragged into exchanges and forcing Garcia to come after him, Burgos emerged beaten but not beaten up -- a distinction that few other Garcia foes have been able to claim.

For the technically minded boxing purists, Garcia in action is a beautiful thing to behold: economy of motion, rarely if ever out of position, calmness personified and the possessor of a rare level of ring intelligence. But that kind of cerebral assassination doesn't always play well with the masses. The noise level at Saturday's venue was considerably higher for the co-main event between Bryant Jennings and Artur Szpilka, and once Szpilka's loud contingent of Polish support left the building, they took much of the energy with them.

So quiet was it at times that the loudest voice was the solitary spectator who randomly shouted "Gamboa!" for several rounds. Yuriorkis Gamboa was indeed in attendance, and the Cuban lightweight was being widely touted as Garcia's likely next foe. That fight seems eminently makeable, and for all the talk from Top Rank's Bob Arum during the fight's build-up about Garcia facing Manny Pacquiao, a move up to 135 pounds to take on Gamboa is wiser for the current 130-pound titleholder and surely infinitely more sellable than a leap to welterweight to take on Pacquiao.

Garcia is many things, including an exceptionally talented boxer and a master ring craftsman. But he is as yet not the kind of fighter who is an easy sell as a pay-per-view star.