LAS VEGAS – Elijah Garcia wasn’t the least bit pleased with his last performance.
The emerging 20-year-old middleweight won his 10-round fight against Kevin Salgado by unanimous decision on the Gervonta Davis-Ryan Garcia undercard April 22 at T-Mobile Arena. The strong, young southpaw beat Salgado by scores of 97-92, 97-92 and 95-94, but Garcia (15-0, 12 KOs) wasn’t as dominant as he was when he knocked out previously unbeaten Uruguayan contender Amilcar Vidal in the fourth round of Garcia’s debut on American television March 4 at Toyota Arena in Ontario, California.
The dissatisfied Garcia feels like he made entirely too many mistakes against Salgado (16-2-1, 11 KOs) and should’ve defeated Salgado more impressively. Presented with another opportunity on a huge stage, Garcia intends to atone for what he considers a disappointing outing when he meets Mexican contender Armando Resendiz on the pay-per-view portion of the Canelo Alvarez-Jermell Charlo undercard Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena.
“I know it’s gonna be a real tough one, but you know, I’m coming to out-class him, you know, show everybody my skills,” Garcia told Premier Boxing Champions’ Miguel Flores during his “grand arrival” Tuesday afternoon at MGM Grand. “I had a pretty rough performance my last fight and I’m trying to make up for it this fight.”
The 24-year-old Resendiz revitalized his career the same night as Garcia knocked out Vidal (16-1, 12 KOs). The rugged contender upset former IBF/IBO/WBA 154-pound champ Jarrett Hurd by 10th-round knockout in the bout Showtime televised immediately after Garcia beat Vidal.
Garcia views Resendiz (14-1, 10 KOs) as just the type of opponent he needs to beat to prove he is ready for a middleweight championship elimination match that could secure a title shot. The Wittmann, Arizona native stated numerous times that he wants to win a championship in his wide-open division by the time he is 21.
“[I’m] just getting the experience, fighting better fighters each time, stepping it up little by little,” Garcia said. “And, you know, taking opponents like Armando Resendiz, he’s a great fighter. He’s gonna come to fight and he’s gonna make [me] work. So, all that experience is gonna help me when the time comes to fight for that world title.”
Resendiz’s stoppage of Hurd (24-3, 16 KOs) helped him come back from his surprising loss to Marcos Hernandez (16-6-2, 3 KOs), who upset Resendiz by unanimous decision in a 10-rounder in September 2021 at The Armory in Minneapolis. He led Hurd on each scorecard – 89-82, 87-84 and 87-84 – when referee Ray Corona stopped their fight just as the 10th round began because of a nasty cut on Hurd’s lip.
“Armando Resendiz, he’s real tough, real strong,” Garcia said. “He came off a really good win and I think it just [brings me] one step closer to a mandatory [position].”
Garcia is ranked sixth by the WBC, seventh by the IBF, eighth by the WBA and 13th by the WBO. Resendiz is rated ninth by the WBA, but he isn’t listed among the top 15 middleweight contenders by the IBF, WBC or WBO.
The 10-round bout between Garcia and Resendiz will open Showtime Pay-Per-View’s four-fight telecast Saturday night (8 p.m. EDT; 5 p.m. PDT; $84.99). DraftKings sportsbook lists Garcia as a 4-1 favorite.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.