Mikey Garcia: Dazzling, simply dazzling. All the new RING featherweight champion did was make an accomplished and durable veteran in Orlando Salido, rated No. 1 going into the fight, look like a journeyman Saturday night in New York City. Garcia, as complete a fighter as there is in boxing, had to settle for an eight-round technical decision when the fight was stopped because of his broken nose – the result of an “accidental” head butt – but we saw what we saw, a master boxer with the demeanor of a more-experienced fighter and crushing power. Salido knocked out Juan Manuel Lopez twice. Against Garcia, he went down four times and lost every round in what for him had to be an embarrassing performance. He shouldn’t be too hard on himself, though. Garcia (31-0, 26 knockouts) will destroy many other good fighters before he’s finished. At only 25, he has a lot more to prove but the guess here is that he’ll join the pound-for-pound elite very soon.
Orlando Salido: Put Salido (39-12-2, 27 KOs) in the ring with another brawler and he’ll thrive, as he proved against Lopez and many others. His overwhelming aggression, power and strong chin are formidable weapons. He simply didn’t have the skills to compete with someone of Garcia’s ability. Oh, Salido never stopped trying; he did all he could to get inside and do damage. And he was successful a few times. He looked befuddled much of the fight, though. He obviously had no clue how to cope with what Garcia brought round after round, including the quick, hard punches that put him down four times, left his face battered and badly bruised his ego. Salido, still only 32, will be back. He’s a born fighter. And born fighters don’t go out like that when they still have plenty of fight left in them. He might be wise to avoid another meeting with Garcia, though.
Golovkin-Rosado: Golovkin was the victim of his own reputation. Everyone expects him to stop his opponents in spectacular fashion; when it doesn’t happen, we’re surprised. Golovkin (25-0, 22 KOs) was able to hurt Gabriel Rosado a few times but couldn’t take him out on the Garcia-Salido card, which probably says more about Rosado (21-6, 13 KOs) than Golovkin. The Philadelphian, who moved up in weight to face one of the biggest punchers on the planet, fought fairly well at times through a horribly bloody cut above his eye and remained on his feet until the moment his corner stopped the fight with 14 seconds to go in Round 7. Rosado undoubtedly made fans Saturday. What does Golovkin’s inability to score a spectacular knockout mean? Maybe nothing; no one can get that done every time they step into the ring. At the same time, Golovkin looked human. Prospective opponents probably won’t be quite as intimidated by him as they might’ve been before Saturday. And that could work in Golovkin’s favor.
Burgos-Martinez draw: This is what bothers me: Juan Carlos Burgos dreams his entire life of winning a major world championship, which so far had eluded him, and then earns that title by dominating the current champion in the ring. Then a bungling judge steals what should’ve been the greatest night of his career. That’s what happened on Saturday, when Burgos clearly outboxed WBO lightweight titleholder Rocky Martinez but had to settle for a draw because of a horrible split decision. The rogue judge was Tony Paolillo, who somehow scored the fight 116-112 (eight rounds to four) for Martinez. The 114-114 score of John Signorile also is baffling. The biggest punches of the fight were the dozens of punishing body shots landed by Burgos. And, according to punch stats, Burgos landed 93 more overall punches and 70 more power punches than Martinez (286-193 and 234-164). That Paolillo and Signorile somehow failed to see that left Burgos (30-1-1, 20 KOs) on the wrong end of yet another injustice in boxing. Shame.
BIGGEST WINNER II
Sergei Kovalev: Wow. I didn’t think anyone could do that to Gabriel Campillo. The Florida-based Russian attacked the talented Spaniard from the opening bell and didn’t stop until the stunned former titleholder went down three times and was knocked out in the third round Saturday night in Uncasville, Conn., on NBC. The broadcasters pointed out that Campillo reportedly had a shaky camp and arrived in Uncasville from Spain on the Wednesday before the fight, which might’ve worked against him. However, I’m not sure Campillo (21-5-1, 8 KOs) at his best would’ve done much better. Kovalev seems to have it all – an excellent amateur background, refined skills and obvious power. Hence his record: 20-0-1, with 18 KOs. He said after the fight that he’s ready for any of the top 175-pounders – the Bernard Hopkins-Tavoris Cloud winner, Chad Dawson, Nathan Cleverly. I believe him after what I saw Saturday.
Curtis Stevens: Another fight, another first-round knockout. Not a bad comeback so far. The one-time amateur standout, who had fought at super middleweight and light heavyweight, left boxing for two years after he lost a decision to Jesse Brinkley in 2010. He came back as a middleweight and appears to be better than ever, as Elvin Ayala found out on the Kovalev-Campillo card. Stevens, known as a big puncher, put Ayala down and hurt him badly with a left hook and finished matters with a flurry as Ayala lay against the ropes. The fight lasted only 1:10. Stevens’ KO of Romaro Johnson in March lasted 2:16. It’s too early to label Stevens a legitimate threat to the top 160-pounders, particularly because of his inactivity. But the 27-year-old from Brooklyn has a very good amateur pedigree and serious power, which will catch the attention of fans. Stevens is definitely one to keep an eye on.
Deontay Wilder: I still think Wilder has a long way to go in terms of his skills but his power is astounding, which could translate to a lot of money as he continues to develop. Wilder (27-0, 27 KOs) stopped journeyman Matthew Greer in two rounds Saturday in Mexico, the 21st time his opponent failed to make it out of the second round. His opponents have been stopped in an average of 1.7 rounds, which is remarkable even against journeymen. Of course, we must reserve judgment on Wilder until he fights better opponents; that should come fairly soon for the 27-year-old Alabaman. He’ll have to shore up his technique. For example, at 6-foot-7, he should be popping his jab into his opponents’ faces incessantly. That would protect him and set up those huge right hands. If he can do that, given his natural punching power, he could emerge as the best heavyweight in the world.
Kudos to judge Waleska Roldan, whose 117-111 score in favor Burgos reflected what actually happened in the ring. I scored it 116-112 for Burgos. … It was a pleasure to listen to Bob Papa call the HBO card on Saturday night. The man is a pro’s pro. He serves up just the right number of words. And because he knows boxing well, he makes every one of them count. I also want to congratulate Andre Ward. I thought his analysis alongside Papa and Max Kellerman was insightful and well articulated. … Billy Briscoe, the trainer of Rosado, should be applauded for saving his fighter from taking more punishment. He put Rosado’s health ahead of the desire to win, which isn’t always the decision a trainer makes. … Steve Collins, the former two-division titleholder from Ireland, said he might return to the ring at 48 to fight Roy Jones Jr. He hasn’t fought since 1997. If anyone can whip themselves into shape at an advanced age, though, it might be Collins. Trainer Freddie Roach said Collins was the hardest working fighter he ever trained. … Former amateur star Frankie Gavin (15-0, 11 KOs) of England remained one to watch after his seventh-round knockout of countryman Jason Welborn on Friday in the U.K.