By Keith Idec
Undefeated junior middleweight prospect Glen Tapia impressed virtually everyone except himself Saturday night.
Tapia scored a one-punch, first-round knockout of Puerto Rican journeyman Carlos Garcia in a fight that Telefutura televised from Toa Baja, Puerto Rico. The 22-year-old Tapia hoped the fight would’ve lasted at least a little longer than exactly two minutes.
“I’m happy, but I wanted to show them more,” Tapia said. “I wanted the fans to see me and say, ‘Wow! I want to see him again.’ This fight happened so fast, they really didn’t see my potential. I want them to know my full potential. I want to show them that.”
Tapia, who’s promoted by Top Rank Inc., improved 14-0 and registered his eighth knockout. The 23-year-old Garcia, of Aguada, Puerto Rico, slipped to 6-11-1 and suffered the fifth knockout defeat of his four-year pro career.
Tapia tattooed Garcia with a picture-perfect straight right after grazing Garcia with a left hook that set up the punch that ended the scheduled six-round fight. Garcia collapsed into a corner and didn’t try to reach his feet before the referee counted to 10 at 2:00 of the first round.
The win was Tapia’s third straight by knockout. The Passaic, N.J., native will return to the ring Aug. 18 at Bally’s in Atlantic City, but his handlers haven’t selected a foe for what will be the first scheduled eight-round fight of his 3½-year pro career.
His last two opponents entered their bouts with a combined record of 13-25-3, so Tapia hopes to increase his level opposition as he attempts to make the tricky transition from prospect to contender in the 154-pound division.
“I was ready for an eight-rounder [Saturday night],” said Tapia, who has been a sparring partner for Manny Pacquiao. “I’m ready for that next step. I can’t wait for that. I’m ready. I’m training hard. I’ll be right back in the gym Tuesday.”
His highlight-reel victory Saturday night represented Tapia’s first fight with new trainer Alex Devia in his corner. The no-nonsense Devia, who owns and operates the Garden State School of Boxing in Paterson, N.J., has watched Tapia develop since he was a 9-year-old amateur standout and has helped Tapia improve his defense, among other things, the past couple months.
“I’m real excited,” said Tapia, who’s co-managed by Pat Lynch, who helped guide late legend Arturo Gatti to stardom. “I’ve been training so hard. I can’t wait to show everybody that I’m ready to be with these top guys. But I’m taking my time and whatever they tell me to do, I’m going to do. I’m going to fight whoever’s in front of me and show these guys that I’m here to stay.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.