Elijah Garcia got the sense most people outside of his team felt they made a matchmaking mistake when they insisted on fighting undefeated middleweight contender Amilcar Vidal on March 4.

Their 10-rounder was considered a dangerous jump up in competition for an unproven 19-year-old prospect who had just 13 professional fights and 35 amateur matches on his record. Garcia, his father/trainer, George Garcia, and his grandfather, George Garcia Sr., were certain, though, that the precocious southpaw was equipped mentally and physically to knock off the Uruguayan contender.

Their fight also afforded Garcia the television exposure he sought, so his team pushed promoter Tom Brown to make that fight versus Vidal. Garcia dropped and knocked out Vidal (16-1, 12 KOs) in the fourth round of a bout Showtime televised from Toyota Center in Ontario, California.

The Wittmann, Arizona resident’s impressive victory earned Garcia top-15 rankings with the WBA (11th), WBC (11th) and IBF (15th).

It also gave Garcia the credibility he needed to secure a high-profile spot on the Gervonta Davis-Ryan Garcia undercard Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Garcia (14-0, 12 KOs) will meet Mexico’s Kevin Salgado (15-1-1, 10 KOs) in a 10-round bout that will open Showtime Pay-Per-View’s four-fight telecast (8 p.m. EDT; $84.99).

“I signed [with TGB Promotions] and I had my first [Premier Boxing Champions] fight October 8th,” Garcia told BoxingScene.com. “Then I fought again December 17th, and then March 4th, and now April 22nd. And so, you know, the biggest thing would be staying in the gym, putting your head down and working. But I wasn’t on the main cards, I wasn’t getting a lot of publicity, no one knew who I was. And then I just got this shot out of nowhere [versus Vidal]. I felt like everyone thought I was gonna lose. Everybody had the odds against me. I had to prove it to everyone. It’s been lots of hard work and faith, I believe.”

The ambitious Garcia wants to win a middleweight title by the time he is 21 or 22. He’ll turn 20 on April 26.

By beating Vidal, Garcia, who made his pro debut at just 16, is confident that he demonstrated his championship aspirations are realistic.

“I think what a lot of people would get from that fight from me is mentally I’m strong,” Garcia said. “I’m here to make noise and people are gonna realize I’m not this average 19-year-old. [It showed] that I’m a heavy hitter, that I have the experience a lot of people didn’t think I had, and I’m gonna be a big name and I’m someone to look out for. I think I made a little bit of noise in the division and made a little bit of a spark. I’m no one to joke around with. I’m a contender now.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.