By Lem Satterfield
Southpaw Ladarius Miller gutted out his ninth consecutive victory by majority decision in a back-and-fourth tactical 138-pound battle with rugged Ricardo Garcia in his third straight appearance and eighth overall at Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall in Las Vegas on Friday night.
A highly touted 25-year-old prospect whose promoter, Floyd Mayweather, instructed him from ringside, Miller (18-1, 5 KOs), of Memphis, Tennesee, appeared at Sam’s Town for the third time in 2018 against Garcia (14-4-1, 9 KOs), a 32-year-old from the Dominican Republic who is 0-4-1 in his last five bouts but never has been stopped.
Miller separated himself from Garcia with a pair of big right hands in the eighth supplemented by well-placed and timed ninth-round left hooks double-handed accuracy in the 10th, winning, 98-92, and, 96-94 on the cards of Dave Moretti and Tim Cheatham, with Adalaide Byrd scoring it 95-95.
“I would just say that I have some things to work on,” said Miller, who is 7-1 with three knockouts at Sam’s Town, where his last fight in August was a 135-pound unanimous decision over Dennis Galarza in the main event. “I wouldn’t consider this to be my best performance. I’ve gotta go back to the drawing board and and keep on working and continue to challenge my body.
“I feel like I made the fight tougher than what it should have been. I wanna say I was lazy tonight. I didn't let my hands go. I did what I had to do to get the win. But Garcia's a veteran and he came to fight. We've already learned not to underestimate nobody, so I just think I need to go back to the drawing board, train harder and work on the mistakes that I don't need to make. I definitely need to work on pulling the trigger and letting my hands go a lot more."
Miller’s winning streak includes victories by eighth-round TKO and unanimous decision over previously once-beatens Jesus Gutierrez (April 2017) and Jamel Herring (August 2017) since falling by six-round unanimous decision to Rolando Chinea in Sam’s Town debut in February 2016.
Former title challenger Ronald Gavril (19-3, 15 KOs) of Las Vegas by way of Romania scored all three knockdowns in the last stanza of a second-round TKO over Antowyan Aikins (13-6-1, 1 KO), a 29-year-old from Atlantic City, New Jersey.
The 32-year-old Gavril rebounded from consecutive 168-pound title-bout losses to David Benavidez by split- and unanimous decision in September 2017 and February. Gavril scored a final-round knockdown in the first fight, which ended his seven-fight winning streak (five by KO).
In a 123 ¾-pound bout, 24-year-old prospect Angelo Leo (15-0, 8 KOs) of Las Vegas by way of New Mexico overcame a game southpaw Eric Ruiz (17-8-1, 7 KOs) by unanimous decision, and 30-year-old flyweight Ava Knight (17-2-4, 5 KOs) won a unanimous decision over Mayela Perez (19-23-4, 10 KOs).
Kenny Robles (5-1, 2 KOs) , a 27-year-old from Staten Island, won his third straight and a clash of junior welterweights by unanimous decision over Matt Doherty (8-7-1, 4 KOs), a 30-year-old from Salem, Massachusetts, who lost for the fourth straight time.
Rolando Romero (7-0, 6 KOs), a 27-year-old Las Vegas resident, won his 135-pound bout by second-round TKO over Rondale Hubbert (12-8-1, 7 KOs), and welterweight Sanjarbek Rakhmanov (11-1-1, 5 KOs), of Uzbekistan, earned a unanimous decision over Jonathan Steele (8-2-1, 6 KOs).