By Jake Donovan
The main event has changed several times over, but the show still went on in Hallendale Beach, Florida.
Once it did, Angelo Santana carried the rock from there.
Three knockdowns paved the way for the Miami-based Cuban to power his way to a 5th round knockout over previously unbeaten Juan Garcia in Friday night's main event on Showtime's Shobox series.
The only thing that went wrong for Santana was his inability to make weight the day before the fight. His handlers erred big time, monitoring his weight on a non-digital scale and suffering humiliation when Santana showed up at 136.75 lb for a lightweight fight.
The southpaw was able to sweat down to 135.2 lb. two hours later. It wasn't enough to get within the limit, but enough for Garcia - who weighed 133.75 lb. - to agree to proceed with the fight.
It's a decision the Holland, Mich. native would probably love to reconsider right about now.
The opening round was the closest the night would come to a competitive fight. Garcia utilized his considerable height and reach advantages, but Santana was soon able to solve the riddle. A counter left hand from the southpaw stance produced the first knockdown of the night early in round two, at which point Santana never looked back.
Garcia braved the storm in round three and fought through a cut over his right eye suffered in the fourth. The lanky super lightweight - who came down in weight for this opportunity - ran out of juice in the fifth, as Santana was relentless in putting on the finishing touches.
An early flurry in the opening moments of the fifth had Garcia in trouble, though he wisely clinched to avoid further punishment. It merely prolonged the inevitable, as a straight left hand forced the 30-year old to lean back and hit the deck hard.
Santana immediately pounced on Garcia the moment he rose to his feet, cornering his foe and flooring him seconds later for a third and final time. Referee Frank Gentile stopped the contest without issuing a count, at which point extensive medical attention was paid to Garcia.
The official time was 1:41 of round five.
Santana has aspirations of advancing to Top 10-level competition in 2013. He certainly took care of business against a quality opponent here, as he improves to 14-0 (11KO).
The feat goes a small way towards avenging the loss of countryman Yordenis Ugas earlier this year, which also took place on ShoBox. Garcia was forced to climb off the canvas in that fight as well, but put together enough quality rounds to eke out an eight-round majority decision.
There was no such luck on this night. Garcia suffers his first career loss as a result, falling to 13-1 (8KO).
The fight was elevated to main event on Wednesday afternoon after Omar Henry (12-0-1, 9KO) was hospitalized after a vicious battle with gallstones, requiring emergency surgery. Henry was set to make his Shobox debut against fellow unbeaten prospect Juan Ubaldo Cabrera; instead, he's forced to ponder the possibility of never fighting again.
One guy who will definitely fight on is Angelo Santana. Chances are he would have preferred for the opportunity to have come by different means. In boxing, it's not about how you get through the door but what you do once you enter the room.
Santana made a grand entrance, thus playing to original intent of the Shobox series.
Maybe next time he'll even make weight, though there will almost certainly be a next time.
HERNANDEZ SHINES IN FRONT OF HOMETOWN CROWD
Joey "Twinkle Fingers" Hernandez easily handled clubfighter James Winchester in winning a 10-round decision in the evening's makeshift co-feature.
Scores were 96-92 and 97-91 (twice) for Hernandez.
The fight had its ups and downs, with elements of bad blood on display. The super welterweights went at it during Thursday's weigh-in, though the fight itself didn't prove as entertaining overall.
Still, the effort was enough for Hernandez - a local favorite - to please the partisan crowd on hand. The Miami native scored a fourth-round knockdown - partially aided by stepping on his opponent's foot, although a volley of punches justified the referee's call.
The knockdown negated a point deduction in the prior round, when Hernandez was penalized for hitting on the break.
Winchester made a run in the final rounds, but was way too late to make a significant dent on the scorecards.
Hernandez advances to 23-1-1 (13KO) with the win, his eighth straight. His lone loss came nearly three years ago at the hands of Ed Paredes, who also fights in South Florida later this month.
Winchester falls to 15-6 (5KO), though offering a brave effort in a fight he accepted on very short notice. The loss is his second straight.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter:
Tags: Don King , Johnny Garcia , Angelo Santana