Ryan Garcia stepped to the ropes of a neutral corner and let his right arm fly like a windmill in celebration of his convincing victory, and so much more.
The unbeaten Victorville lightweight had just spent most of the second round flinging that same right hand with violent intentions, battering Puerto Rico’s Jose Lopez with head shots that set up a late knockdown by a right uppercut.
Lopez’s cornermen had seen enough, informing referee Jack Reiss that Saturday’s fight at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio was over after just six minutes.
“He kept ducking his head and I kept smacking him wherever he went,” Garcia said.
The victory, coming 10 days after the birth of Garcia’s first child, daughter Rylie, was attended by two-belt middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez, who provided a ringing endorsement of his Golden Boy Promotions stablemate.
“I’m very impressed. He does what he does in the gym in the ring, and he did that tonight,” Alvarez said. “He’s the best prospect today.”
Garcia (18-0, 15 knockouts) achieved what he sought against Lopez (20-4-1) by finishing him in short order to enhance his chance at landing a spot on the undercard of Alvarez’s May 4 unification bout against Daniel Jacobs in Las Vegas. The 20-year-old also pressed for accelerated title-fight consideration.
Garcia has been in a back-and-forth with Floyd Mayweather Jr. and his super-featherweight world champion Gervonta Davis, building anticipation for a fight.
“I ain’t intimidated by Mayweather; nobody can intimidate me,” Garcia said.
“My improvements … my fights … and the competition is going to get better. I’m going to be ready for it. The more I get better, the opposition has to get better.
“And do I think I’m ready for a world title this year? Hell yes.”
His promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, added, “He’s on his way. A lot of fans want him to win the world title and, believe me, it’s going to happen sooner than later.”
In blasting past the former prospect Lopez, Garcia landed 34 of 107 punches to Lopez’s 10 landed punches. Garcia loaded up for several hard rights in the second, and found Lopez with hard uppercuts that brought a smile of satisfaction from Alvarez, who mimicked the defining final blows while celebrating victory with Garcia in the ring.
In the co-main event, Puerto Rico’s World Boxing Organization champion Angel Acosta relied on his quickness and power to knock out Mexico City’s Ganigan Lopez (35-9) in the eighth round.
The end was set up by a left hook and a flurry of blows that sent Lopez down 1:55 into the eighth as Acosta successfully defended his belt for the third time.
Acosta, trained by Freddie Roach and promoted by former four-division world champion Miguel Cotto, improved to 20-1 with his 20th knockout.
“I want to unify and get the big purses. I’ve showed I can knock out all the people like the big guys who make all the money,” Acosta said.
Unbeaten Glendora featherweight Joet Gonzalez (22-0, 13 KOs) scored two early knockdowns of courageous Mexico City fighter Rodrigo Guerrero (26-8-2) before finishing him by technical knockout 2:27 into the fifth round.
San Diego’s Antonio Orozco (28-1), six months after going the distance with World Boxing Council junior-welterweight champion Jose Ramirez, surprisingly was relegated to opening the Indio show and won a unanimous decision over Mexico’s Jose Rodriguez (25-13-1).
Mexico City’s unbeaten super-featherweight Rocky Hernandez (28-0, 25 KOs) overwhelmed Ibrahim Class with a knockout 1:58 into the second round.