Ryan Garcia showed some rust after a long layoff, but all in all handled his return well tonight, beating Emmanuel Tagoe clearly over 12 rounds in San Antonio.
The 23-year-old Garcia had been off for just over 15 months, and returned to take scores of 118-109, 119-108, and 119-108, going 12 rounds for the first time in his career, having some trouble tactically with Tagoe (32-2, 15 KO), but not the sort where he was ever in any danger of, like, losing the fight.
Garcia did drop Tagoe in round two, but had some trouble really landing clean, mainly because he had trouble cutting the ring off on the veteran from Ghana, who moved around the perimeter of the ring a lot and held when he needed to, keeping Garcia from ever building big momentum with an offensive flurry.
But Garcia clearly did the better work in this fight, and admitted after that there were things he could have done better. Just from the outside, his timing wasn’t where he’d like it to be, which goes with the rust in a live fight scenario, and he probably could have pressed more aggressively if he’d wanted the knockout.
But from the Garcia side, this is not the worst outcome. He got 12 tricky but not uncomfortable rounds against a guy who showed that if nothing else, it is not always going to be easy to land clean and do big time damage. Tagoe was hurt a couple of times, more than he was on the knockdown even, but he was able to survive, and Garcia will have some things to learn from and work on in the gym.
“I’ve got nothing but respect for Tagoe, he fought a hard fight,” Garcia said. “He made it a little difficult, I hit him with some shots, but he was crafty with the holding and stuff. He was moving a lot. It’s a new experience, I’ve got to cut the ring off better with a guy that’s going to keep moving all 12 rounds.”
Garcia said if he’d pressed harder in the early going, he might have gotten him out, but repeated it being a “new experience” trying to cut off the ring against “a guy fighting to survive.”
Garcia also spoke highly of his first fight working with Joe Goossen. “It felt great. I was super comfortable with him. I love Joe, we have a great relationship and he’s just the best guy.” Garcia also said his right hand held up well over the fight.
Asked about possibly fighting Gervonta Davis, Garcia said, “In the past, I’m always with the call-outs, but I’ve grown and matured, and I’m going to let my team handle it. When it’s on, it’s on, but as of right now, I’m going to trust my team. I know (call-outs) are fun, but it’s unrealistic, I’m not going to lie to the fans. When we fight, we fight.”
Shane Mosley Jr MD-10 Gabriel Rosado
It’s a majority decision on the books thanks to the goofy 95-95 scorecard from judge Angel Mendez Ramos, but this was a clear win for Mosley, who had probably the best performance of his pro career while the veteran Rosado had one of his absolute worst.
Rosado (26-15-1, 15 KO) has had another nice little run the last year and a half or so, with a controversial loss to Daniel Jacobs, a big upset win over Bektemir Melikuziev in a KO of the Year contender last year, and then a good fight last November with Jaime Munguia, which he lost fair.
That Rosado acted like there was actually any question about the outcome when the winner was announced may have been more out of habit than anything, because he didn’t win more than three rounds of this fight. The other two cards were 97-93 and 98-92, and Bad Left Hook had it 98-92 and 99-91 for Mosley, who at 31 bounces back from a loss to Jason Quigley and potentially sets himself up for another good fight, another chance to really get in the game.
Mosley (18-4, 10 KO) was just good here, worked off his jab nicely, fought the fight he should have, and never let Rosado really get into it. Rosado started slow, and Mosley picked that apart. When Rosado tried to turn up the heat, Mosley picked that apart, too. Gabe landed a good shot here and there and may have buzzed Mosley once, but Mosley also more clearly hurt Rosado just moments later in the same round.
It’s a clear win for Mosley, and Rosado takes another loss, one with no controversy, one that wasn’t against a top fighter, and at 36, you have to wonder what he wants to do from here. That top level success just has not happened for him, and it’s less likely every fight that it’s ever going to come.
Marlen Esparza UD-10 Naoko Fujioka
A good, competitive fight, and ridiculous scoring from judges Wilfredo Esperon and Jesse Reyes, who both had it 100-90 for Esparza, which is exactly why Esparza was such a strong betting favorite with “the oddsmakers,” something the DAZN commentary kept talking about, noting that the fight was more competitive than “the oddsmakers” thought it was going to be. Boxing isn’t basketball; quite often in boxing, you can score more points, as it were, and still get told you lost, or have a fight be judged completely against you even if you were very competitive, as Fujioka was here.
This was not a robbery, don’t get that twisted. Maybe you could have made a case for Fujioka (19-3-1, 7 KO), but we had it 96-94 and 97-93 for Esparza (12-1, 1 KO) on two separate, unofficial cards, too. But what’s obvious is that Fujioka did not win zero rounds. But she was the home fighter, it was her promoter’s event, and she’s being pushed as a second-tier star, likely with hopes to have her rematch current 105 lb titleholder Seniesa Estrada at some point. Estrada beat Esparza by technical decision in 2019, and the two of them genuinely do not like one another.
So Fujioka deserved more credit than two judges gave her, but the outcome isn’t wrong. It’s just that scoring it 10-0 makes people think you were on autopilot filling the card in.
“I really want the next two belts,” Esparza said about what’s next. “I have to let my manager and team decide, but I’m happy for the future, and I’m exactly where I need to be.”
The other two titles in the division are held by Tamara Demarco (WBO) and Leonela Yudica (IBF).
Azat Hovhannisyan TKO-2 Dagoberto Aguero
“Crazy A” got back in action here in a featherweight stay-busy fight, having not fought since last July, and kept his spot in line for a junior featherweight title shot against the winner of Murodjon Akhmadaliev vs Ronny Rios, whenever that fight comes off.
Aguero (15-2, 10 KO) felt the power of Hovhannisyan (21-3, 17 KO) late in the first round, and tried to get some respect right away in the second. It was a mistake, as that is just Hovhannisyan’s game, he loves to stay aggressive, loves to exchange, nothing makes him happier than an opponent that comes to him.
Two knockdowns and another flurry later, referee Jon Schorle stepped in to stop the fight at 1:11 of round two. In the four minutes, 11 seconds of ring time, Hovhannisyan landed 54 of 105 (51.4%) punches thrown, all of them landed being power shots. He did offer 13 jabs, connecting on none. He was 36 of 51 in the 71 seconds of action in round two alone.
If this was your first time seeing “Crazy A,” the answer is yes, he’s generally like this. Can’t always do it quite this way, of course, but this is the style he fights.