Jaime Garza took off a year and four days between fights.
And when he finally decided to return to the ring, the former World Boxing Council super-bantamweight champion couldn’t get down to the required 130 pounds for his 10-round bout against Rocky Alonso Thursday night at the Hollywood Palladium.
For that, Garza was fined $500 of his $2,500 purse by the State Athletic Commission.
In the end, it was all worth the weight.
Garza, displaying the sharpness he exhibited as a WBC champion five years ago, knocked out Alonso 2:57 into the first round Thursday night to the cheers of a crowd of about 1,000.
Garza, 29, scored early and often in the round with a stinging jab. Alonso’s only effective punch was a right hand midway through the round.
Then, in the closing seconds, Garza caught Alonso with a left, then a straight right that caused the Bakersfield fighter’s legs to wobble.
“I had planned to pace myself,” Garza (48-4 with 44 knockouts) said, “because I didn’t want to look sloppy.
“But when I got him hurt, I didn’t want to waste any time.”
Nor did he. Garza moved in and floored Alonso with an overhand left.
Alonso, who weighed in at 129, tried to struggle to his feet as referee Lou Filippo counted over him. But by the time Filippo had reached 10, Alonso (33-24-1) was still on his knees.
That’s where most of Garza’s early opponents wound up. He won his first 40 fights, 38 by knockout, along with the WBC title by the age of 25.
But Juan Meza then knocked him out in the first round of a 1984 fight in New York, and Garza has been trying to get back up ever since.
Including the Meza fight, he was just 7-4 before Thursday night’s bout.
He had been knocked out in the fifth round of his last fight, a year ago at the Forum, by Marcos Villasana.
Then, the former Pacoima resident went home to his family ranch in Texas with thoughts of perhaps opening a restaurant.
Garza broke with long-time manager Benny Georgino. The contract between the two is currently in arbitration.
Then, Harry Kazandjian and trainer Pat Goossen talked Garza into a comeback.
“I felt strong,” Garza said. “but if I have to fight at 135 pounds, that’s what I’ll do.”