Unbeaten Victorville lightweight Ryan Garcia, in his first fight with Canelo Alvarez’s trainer, Eddy Reynoso, working his corner, knocked out Braulio Rodriguez 1 minute, 14 seconds into the fifth round Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.
“I heard people on Instagram saying they don’t think this kid can fight. So I wasn’t looking for the knockout. I wanted to show them I can fight and I’m for real,” Garcia, 20, said.
Garcia (17-0, 14 knockouts) first dropped Rodriguez in the first round with a massive left hook to the face while backing away from another punch. Rodriguez desperately hung on as Garcia wailed.
Rodriguez (19-4), of the Dominican Republic, had one point deducted in the third round for low blows, and Garcia smacked him hard with right hands in the round.
“We knew from the weigh-in that he would try to intimidate me, but all that stuff didn’t matter,” Garcia said.
Garcia worked diligently on technical fundamentals with Reynoso at their San Diego gym only to see Rodriguez provide a wild, taunting style that complicated Garcia’s pursuit until he found Rodriguez near the ropes with a combination of punches punctuated by a hard left to the forehead that ended the bout.
“[Reynoso] took me in like family. I don’t speak Spanish, but I got the message,” Garcia said, roaring “Viva Mexico!” into the microphone. “I know it’s a process, but I trust my team and I’m not scared of anybody.”