By Cliff Rold
21-year old Jr. Bantamweight Johnny Garcia (17-2, 11 KO) of Ciudad Nezahualcoyotl, Mexico, scored a knockdown in round four and survived a knockdown in the twelfth to scores an impressive and crowd pleasing unanimous decision win over previously unbeaten 25-year old William Urina (17-1, 14 KO) of Barranquilla, Colombia on Friday night at the Jose Cuervo Salon in Polanco, Mexico.
Both men came in under the division limit of 115 lbs., Garcia at 113 and Urina at 114.
Garcia controlled the action through the first three rounds, Urina coming forward consistently and occasionally landing a southpaw lead right or long left upstairs. Garcia transitioned between southpaw and orthodox stances, firing in multiple to the belly and shooting short uppercuts and hooks to the head.
In the fourth, Garcia’s attack and the slickness of the ring paint caused Urina to slip towards the canvas, his glove keeping him up. The referee ruled a slip (not Urina’s first of the night); it would not be his final trip to the floor in the frame. At the thirty-second mark, Garcia caught Urina leaning over his front foot, chin hanging in the air, and planted a perfect lead left uppercut on the sweet spot. Urina crumpled to the deck, his eyes glassy and legs unsteady as he rose to meet the referee’s count at seven. He was waved forward to continue after answering that he could, Garcia firing away into the bell as Urina braced for the assault and stayed on his feet.
Round five was immediately halted but a wet spot in the corner of Urina, the spill conveniently allowing Urina precious extra seconds to recover. When action resumed, Garcia let loose to test the legs of his man. He found Urina sufficiently recovered, wisely returning to the steady attack he had employed throughout the night. His difficulty increased; by round’s end, Urina was finding his jab and caught Garcia with a couple nice lefts.
Urina was again boxing well in the sixth, pulling back into the fight and making a move to protect his undefeated mark, only to find himself cut over the right eye. It was the second accidental head clash of the round, both seeming to hurt Garcia worse and causing Garcia to briefly take a knee the second time. Urina was deemed able to continue by the ring doctor.
Fighting with increased urgency, Urina attacked to start the seventh while Garcia’s face was a mask of encroaching fatigue. It was Urina playing the part of sharper, snappier puncher…until it wasn’t. Again caught leaning in too close to Garcia, Urina was stung with another rattling lead left uppercut. Stepping back towards the ropes, Urina reached to hold as Garcia pounced. Garcia closed the stealing of round seven with a flush left and right, sending Urina to his corner dazed and bleeding.
Round eight was a relative breather for both men, a brace for a grueling round nine with strong exchanges in its first half. Urina was warned for a low blow in the second half of the round, many of his shots having toyed with the beltline and below all night to then.
Fully inhaling his second wind, Garcia was aggressive in the competitive tenth and eleventh rounds, his back painted with the dripping blood of a Urina whose small cut near the corner of the right eye was now joined by a nasty gash into the hairline on the same side. A brief break for medical review resulted in the fight going on and Garcia got the better of the exchanges heading into the final three minutes.
Fired up at the thought of an upset, Garcia walked into high drama in the final round, a flush right from Urina planting him on the seat of his trunks only seconds in. Likely needing a stoppage to win, was able only to briefly stun Garcia again before the round was over, the fate of his “0” sent to the cards.
Having lived through the previous twelve rounds, Urina probably already knew what was coming, Garcia rewarded an earned victory by scores of 116-110, 117-109, and 116-109. Garcia can hope to find himself ranked by one of the major sanctioning organizations after Friday night, Urina having come in rated #7 at Jr. Bantamweight by the WBO.
Also televised, 29-year old former Bantamweight title challenger William Gonzalez (25-4, 21 KO), 120, of Managua, Nicaragua, hoped to keep his hopes alive for another title shot with a fifth straight win since losing to then (and now once again) IBF titlist Joseph Agbeko.
Those hopes were dashed.
Instead, plucky 23-year underdog Angel Aguilar (5-5, 1 KO), 121, of Mexico City, Mexico, raised his record to .500 by outhustling the more experienced man over eight rounds via split decision. Interestingly, of Aguilar’s losses to date, two are by split verdict and two others by disqualification. His short career finally saw the pendulum swing his way against an impressive opponent. The final scores were 76-75 across the board, one point separating the men on all three cards.
The card was televised in the U.S. on Telemundo, promoted by Tuto Zabala Jr. and All Star Boxing.
Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at [email protected]