It didn’t take long for Ryan Garcia to learn his Instagram attraction and upcoming fashion runway appearance meant nothing to Huntington Park’s Carlos Morales.
Garcia, feeling ill and tired in the early going Saturday night at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, received a needed hard look at the rigors of a competitive prize fight. Despite the adversity, Victorville’s Garcia (16-0) emerged with a majority decision victory by judges’ scores of 98-92 (Max DeLuca), 95-95 (David Denkin) and 98-92 (Edward Hernandez).
“I felt sick and was getting fatigued after the first [round],” Garcia said afterward.
In facing his first top-10 ranked opponent in a lightweight bout, true super-featherweight Garcia relied on his hand speed and accuracy to rule the first half of the bout even as Morales (17-3-3), ranked No. 5 in the World Boxing Assn. super-featherweight ratings, sought to pressure the favorite by maneuvering him toward the canvas three times and pressing his head toward Garcia’s face.
Were the tactics dirty?
Staving off Morales was a tiring pursuit when Garcia sought to display the defensive and boxing lessons he worked on this training camp.
“I felt it was legit,” Garcia said. “He was coming to fight. Much respect to Carlos Morales. He’s a game fighter.”
Morales amplified his pressure with clean punches in the seventh and eighth, cornering the 20-year-old to further the test of his resolve. Garcia found his second wind in the 10th, delivering right hands that kept him unbeaten.
“I blocked a couple punches and when I pressed him, I had most of my success … I’m ready to get back to the gym and get back to my craft,” Garcia said.
Lancaster’s Neeco Macias put on a punching exhibition for the ages in the co-main event, throwing a junior-middleweight record 196 punches in the third round of his technical knockout of previously unbeaten Marvin Cabrera (8-1) of Los Angeles.
CompuBox recorded that Macias (17-0, 10 KOs) threw a total of 1,007 punches, and his 167 in the second round were one shy of Jesus Soto-Karass’ record.
The relentless barrage inspired a ringside doctor to inspect Cabrera after five rounds, and after referee Ray Corona hesitated to stop the bout despite many opportunities in the sixth, Cabrera’s corner stopped the bout after the round.
Macias, who brought a large group of supporters, seemed to flash a mischievous smile while throwing the blows. Oscar De La Hoya, owner of Golden Boy, said he’ll seek to showcase Macias more frequently given his entertainment value.
“We smile because we’re confident,” Macias said. “Boxing is fun.”