Ryan Songalia

Garcia blasts Pastrana, Young decisions Hirales

Featherweight contender Miguel “Mikey” Garcia made short work of faded former titleholder Mauricio Pastrana, knocking him out at 1:05 of the second round in Los Mochis, Mexico, on Saturday.

The win clears the path for Garcia (29-0, 25 knockouts) to meet WBO featherweight titleholder Orlando Salido (39-11-2, 27 KOs) later this year in a fight that has been long rumored but never finalized.

The 24-year-old Oxnard, Calif. native, who 15 years younger than his Colombian counterpart, stalked the much smaller Pastrana (35-17-2, 23 KOs) in the opening round, throwing few punches as Pastrana struggled to get away. Garcia wouldn’t land a solid punch until a minute into the second round when he stepped in with a strong 1-2 combination that knocked Pastrana on his seat. Pastrana struggled to rise but was

Garcia, THE RING’s No. 5-rated featherweight, is the younger brother of former 130-pound title holder and current rising trainer Roberto Garcia. Pastrana meanwhile has lost 10 of his last 11 (with the single win against a fighter with a 1-28 record) and no longer resembles the warrior who unseated International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee Michael Carbajal in 1997 to win the IBF junior flyweight title.

Salido, who won the title with a 2011 upset knockout of Juan Manuel Lopez, is promoted by the show’s organizer Zanfer Promotions.

The fight aired on Mexican network TV Azteca. No mention of the venue was made on the broadcast.

On that same card, 19-year-old featherweight prospect Adrian Young (17-0, 15 KOs) earned the first big victory of his career, winning an eight-round unanimous decision in his hometown over tough fellow Mexican Raul Hirales (16-2-1, 8 KOs), of La Paz, Mexico. The scores were 77-75, 77-74 and 78-73. The BoxAzteca commentators scored the fight 77-75 unofficially for Hirales.

Young, known as “El Chinito”, had a rough time in the early rounds as the shorter but more aggressive Hirales, 28, pressed the action in the first three rounds, backing up Young to the ropes with right hands and body shots.

Just as it seemed Hirales was going to steamroll the younger prospect, an accidental headbutt in the fourth round produced a bad cut around Hirales’ right eye and the tide began to turn slowly. Young closed that stanza by wisely stepping to his left and popping jabs and countering with left uppercuts. Hirales continued to press the action, but with the fight seemingly close, Young landed a counter left hook as Hirales barged in that dropped him to the delight of the screaming crowd. Hirales didn’t appear to be terribly hurt by the shot and closed the round stronger.

Hirales, who had made his bones by upsetting then-prospect Charles Huerta in last year, has now lost two straight after dropping a wide decision to unbeaten British junior featherweight Carl Frampton in May. This was only Young’s third victory over an opponent with a winning record.

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