Ryan Garcia and Jorge Linares Move Towards a Showdown After a Pair of Explosive KO Wins
Ryan Garcia signals he’s a threat to the Lightweight division after a brilliant 1-punch first-round KO of Francisco Fonseca at the Honda Center on DAZN
Former three-division champion Jorge Linares stops Carlos Morales with a stunning TKO3 performance to show he’s still a 135-pound contender
ANAHEIM, CA (February 14, 2020) — Golden Boy Promotions tabbing undefeated Lightweight prospect Ryan Garcia to headline a card in Anaheim on Valentine’s Day was a solid strategic move by Oscar De La Hoya and his team. Equally strategic, was the selection of Francisco Fonseca as the opponent. While an under dog, Fonseca could potentially serve as the mutual opponent to crystallize Garcia’s slotting among the division’s elite. Fonseca’s two losses came at the hands of 130-pound champions Gervonta Davis and Tevin Farmer.
In addition to defending his WBC Silver Lightweight, a victory was also expected to solidify a showdown between Garcia and the co-main event’s Jorge Linares.
Let’s go ahead and get that fight on the schedule.
Garcia only needed the first round to dispatch his latest toughest assignment. At 1:20 Garcia caught Fonseca with a flush counter left hook that knocked the Nicaraguan flat onto his back. Referee Raul Caiz Sr wisely skipped the 10-count and waved the fight off so that Fonseca could be attended to by the medical team.
The stellar performance moved Garcia to 20-0 with his 17th KO.
In the two opening rounds of the co-main event Jorge Linares (47-5, 29 KOs) versus Carlos Morales (19-5-4, 8 KOs), it seemed like a good Lightweight bout between two veterans was forthcoming. The 36-year old Linares had other plans, and was actually putting together intel for a full-on ambush of his 30-year old opponent.
In the third and fourth rounds Linares set up a pair of crisp short right hands with jabs to Morales’ body. Morales fell face-first from the punch in the third round but got up to continue fighting. At 2:09 in the subsequent round a similar sequence sent Morales to the canvas along the ropes. This time he was unable to beat the count of referee Thomas Taylor. The KO was Morales’ first loss by stoppage of his career.
Alexis Rocha vs Brad Solomon
Georgia’s Brad Solomon (28-3, 9 KOs) looked like an aging fighter cognizant of the fact he was in against Alexis Rocha for, realistically, his last hurrah. This assignment, a second consecutive bout against a promising Golden Boy Welterweight prospect, came on the heels of his December stoppage to Vergil Ortiz.
Despite the wide cards, it appeared Rocha (16-0, 11 KOs) needed the timely powerful right hooks he finally landed in the 10th round to get a knockdown. Solomon’s confidence increased each round, as he stood in the center of the ring catching Rocha with uppercuts inside and a variety of lead shots with right hand.
Rocha’s volume punching helped him seize the early momentum in the fight, but during the middle rounds he struggled to land combinations as Solomon fell into a rhythm and started putting together single shots to close the scoring gap. Rocha’s corner admonished the 22-year old for his positioning lapses ahead of the 10th and final round, but the judges saw the fight completely different, and delivered scores of 100-89, 99-90 and 97-92.
Blair Cobbs vs Samuel Kotey
Welterweights Blair Cobbs (13-0-1, 9 KOs) and Samuel Kotey opened the live stream on DAZN. The charismatic Cobbs was expected to add some fireworks to the show, but with exception of throwing some bigger shots in the opening rounds, he fought conservatively to earn his 14th win.
Early on the older, and inactive, Kotey struggled to stay close to Cobbs who set up some exchanges while circling outside on his toes. Cobbs’ game plan was sketchy over the first half of the fight, and he briefly stepped up his work rate to open round six. Kotey found his openings in the final minute.
Cobbs received a 1-point deduction in round nine after a low blow in the earlier part of the first minute. Kotey took a short break and once he returned to the action he rallied to land some of his most punishing shots of the night. Cobbs never stuck to an attack or showed superiority for a prolonged amount of time in the bout, and the narrow scorecards were indicative of the fact the 30-year old is still learning. Cobbs retained his NABF title via split decision with cards of 94-95, 96-93 and 96-93.