Roberto Garcia scored a split-decision over Norberto Gonzalez in the 10-round middleweight main event of a Friday Night Fights card at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago. Garcia, a late substitute, won by scores of 96-93, 95-94, 94-95.
The 33-year-old veteran from Weslasco, Texas, had to lose 14 pounds in one week in order to replace injured prospect Jonathan Gonzalez, but though the weight loss appeared to effect him in the late rounds, he still landed the harder, cleaner punches throughout the competitive fight.
Garcia (33-3, 22 knokcouts) stunned Gonzalez with a hook at the bell ending the opening stanza but he was outworked and outboxed by the lateral-moving 32-year-old Monterrey, Mexico native during the early rounds. Garcia tried to press Gonzalez, who was 4-2 in his last six bouts going into the fight, but he wasn't able to cut the ring off and he didn't let his hands go until he was in range, enabling his opponent to outjab him.
However, Garcia's forward-marching aggression paid off when he was able to get Gonzalez's back to the ropes in the middle rounds. Garcia, who has now won six consecutive bouts since dropping a 10-round decision to Antonio Margarito in a 2010 junior middleweight bout, appeared to tire out by the seventh round, which Gonzalez (20-3, 13 KOs) clearly won with his jab.
As fatigue set in with both fighters, Garcia resorted to roughhouse tactics such as shoving-off with his left forearm and shoulder in order to position Gonzalez in line for a left hook. In the eighth, a round he was winning, he was penalized one point by the referee for the infraction.
The two fading middleweights battled on even terms in the ninth round but Garcia, who continued to land harder flush shots, was the stronger of the two in the final round.
In the co-featured bout of the ESPN2 broadcast, Polish prospect Kamil Laszczyk improved to 16-0, 7 KOs, with a 10-round unanimous decision over capable Nicaraguan gatekeeper Daniel Diaz (20-6-1, 14 KOs), winning by scores of 79-72 (twice) and 78-73.
In the opening televised bout, talented former U.S. amateur standout Erickson Lubin improved to 3-0 with a first-round stoppage of Puerto Rican journeyman Roberto Acevedo (13-13-3, 1 KO). The 18-year-old southpaw from Orlando, Fla., has won all three of his pro bouts via first-round KO.