LOS ANGELES – It took more than 3½ years but Juan Garcia finally won again Thursday night.
Garcia was an unbeaten prospect early in 2008 but lost three consecutive fights and was dropped by his promoter, Top Rank, after which he left boxing. His most-recent fight took place in June 2009, when he lost a split decision to David Rodela.
He returned to the ring on the Fight Night Club card Thursday night in Los Angeles, winning a rousing brawl with Hector Serrano by a majority decision in a six-round junior welterweight fight in the Fight Night Club main event.
Garcia (15-3, 5 knockouts) outpointed Serrano (13-3, 5 KOs) by scores of 57-57, 58-56 and 58-56, which reflected the evenly contested matchup. Their give-and-take exchanges for most of the fight made it difficult to score and thrilled the crowd at Club Nokia.
But by the end, blood gushed from Serrano’s nose and his right eye was nearly closed shut, clear signs that Serrano had gotten the worst of the damage.
Garcia dominated the final round to pull out the victory.
"It feels good," said Garcia, who worked with trainer Abel Sanchez and sparred with Robert Guerrero in Big Bear, Calif., to prepare for his comeback fight. "After three straight losses, people stopped believing in me. Some even told Abel, 'Why are you wasting time with him? He has no heart.' …
"All that is fuel for the fire. I really don't have to demonstrate anything to anyone but myself. I love this game."
Garcia, who relocated from Phoenix to Southern California to restart his boxing career, said he has no fight scheduled.
"I'm just going to take a week or so to heal up and then get back in the gym," he said.
Serrano, from Riverside, Calif., won his first 13 fights but now has lost his last three.
In the co-feature, lightweight prospect Ramon Valadez (10-1, 5 KOs) defeated tough journeyman Noe Lopez (8-10, 5 KOs) by a unanimous decision in a six-round bout.
Valadez is known best for a four-round war in his second fight – one he lost to Oscar Andrade – but has worked on his technique and has now won nine consecutive fights.
Valdez, who is from East Los Angeles, put Lopez down in the first round and outworked the Mexican the rest of the way in what was a good learning experience for the young fighter.
Dion Savage (11-1, 6 KOs) of Flint, Mich., defeated Edward Tigs (1-2-1) of San Antonio by a unanimous decision in a six-round light heavyweight bout.
And, in a scheduled four-round junior lightweight bout, Jose Sanchez (5-2, 2 KOs) of Santa Ana, Calif., stopped Ricardo Garcia (2-2) of La Habra, Calif., at 1:11 of the second round.