By Keith Idec
NEW YORK — Mikey Garcia would’ve fought through a broken nose early Sunday morning, but he wasn’t required to do so.
Garcia instead won the WBO featherweight title from Orlando Salido by technical decision in The Theater at Madison Square Garden, where their scheduled 12-round fight was stopped due to Garcia’s broken nose. Garcia knocked down Salido four times and was way ahead on all three scorecards when the fight was stopped after eight rounds.
The fight went to the scorecards because Garcia’s injury was caused by an accidental head-butt during the eighth round. By then, judges Don Ackerman (79-70), Julie Lederman (79-69) and John Stewart (79-69) gave Garcia all but one round apiece.
“We went up to check him and his nose was very broken,” said Dr. Robert Pollofsky, one of two New York State Athletic Commission physicians who examined Garcia after the eighth round. “He couldn’t breath and it was too dangerous to continue to have him fight like that. So we made the decision to stop the fight.”
Garcia (31-0, 26 KOs), of Oxnard, Calif., dropped Mexico’s Salido (39-12-2, 27 KOs, 1 NC) twice in the first round and once apiece in the third and fourth rounds, but Salido protested the stoppage at ringside after losing the 126-pound title he won from Juan Manuel Lopez.
“I never felt that the head-butt was strong enough to do that much damage,” Salido said. “I felt I was getting to him and I felt when I saw his corner, they were ready to quit. They were ready to stop the fight. … In the seventh round, I felt like I was getting to him. I had five rounds to get this guy and I felt that I was on my way.”
The 25-year-old Garcia disagreed after recording the biggest victory of his career, albeit anticlimactic.
“I didn’t know [my nose] was broken,” Garcia said, “but I felt the pain from the head-butt. It was a unanimous decision win and I was beating him up.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.