In the main event, Hector Garcia grabbed an opportunity after WBA junior lightweight champion Roger Gutierrez had to drop out of his title defense against mandatory contender Chris Colbert after testing positive for Covid-19 and turned it into the night of his boxing career as Garcia dominated, bullied, knocked Colbert down for the first time in his career, and turned the highly touted Colbert into someone running for his life in the last third of the fight as Garcia won an easy unanimous decision in Las Vegas.
Garcia was a former Olympian but had not fought anyone near the level of Colbert before this fight and the first four round were fought evenly before Garcia began to hammer Colbert to the body to slow down a fighter that used his legs to control all of his previous fights.
Garcia threw lots of punches that surprised Colbert when he could not grab and hold as a tactic accumulating points and not allowing Colbert to fire many counterpunches.
In the seventh, Garcia dropped Colbert and almost finished the fight then and there with a badly hurt Colbert showing heart in surviving the round but Colbert shifted into permanent "Camacho" mode for the remainder of the fight with more interest in surviving than attempting to fire a miracle bomb.
I scored Garcia an easy 118-109 (10-2 with a knockdown in rounds) victor, which was near the three official scores.
For Garcia, the win is the stepping forward to the world stage and it will be Garcia that faces the healed Gutierrez for the WBA title.
As for Colbert, this is a devastating defeat that not only cost him a championship attempt but Colbert also took a beating that some boxers never recover from and at a minimum this loss provided future opponents a game plan to follow in future bouts.
The co-feature was the fight I was most looking forward to and even though it was far from a stinker, it was the least impactful of the three fights on the card as junior welterweight Gary Antuanne Russell scored his sixteenth stoppage in as many wins and won his first fight over a world-class fighter in stopping former WBC champion Viktor Postol with seconds remaining in the fight.
Don't get too excited about stopping Postol as the stoppage was a poor one considering Postol may have been mildly dazed but far from hurt before the fight was stopped.
Still, Russell fought very well and would have been the deserved winner on the scorecards.
I had Russell ahead 87-84 entering the final round and he clearly was going to add the final round over the game but distracted Postol, a native of Ukraine, who fought well but was outfought by Russell.
Postol's three losses were all decision losses to champions Terence Crawford, Josh Taylor, and Jose Ramirez, so PBC will likely give that stat an unjustified push but Russell looked solid in his first try against top ten fighters and I'd think Russell will be in the mix for one of those four titles in the division that Josh Taylor may be planning to vacate.
In another surprise involving a former Olympian, Argentina's Fernando Martinez overpowered and outslugged Jerwin Ancajas via unanimous decision and took away the IBF junior bantamweight title held by Ancajas.
Ancajas had made nine defenses of the title since 2016 and was scheduled to unify his title with the WBO version held by Kazuto Ioka in his next fight after their first fight was canceled due to Covid-19 in December, so unless Martinez would like to jump in and take the Ioka fight, the unification in the division is off the board for now as Ancajas does have a rematch clause.
The fight itself was an action-filled affair that saw each fighter throw and land often but Martinez held a large edge in both as I scored Martinez an easy 117-111 winner.
Sunday from London, Lawrence Okolie retained his WBO Cruiserweight title over Michal Cieslak via unanimous decision in a sloppy fight that saw the larger Okolie control Cieslak and scored the fight's only knockdown in the fifth round.
IBF champion Mairis Briedis was in attendance dressed as Super Mario and what could be a good sign that Briedis vs Okolie for the best fighter in a weak division could be coming soon, should Bredis dispose of his mandatory against Jai Opetaia in his next outing.
Boxing Challenge-This Week's Pts in parentheses
Vince Samano 28 Pts (4)
TRS 26 Pts (2)
Ramon Malpica 23 Pts (2)