Mikey Garcia was at his lightest weight in more than three years ahead of his first fight since the pandemic.
The former four-division titlist is poised for his ring return, as he faces Spain’s Sandor Martin in a scheduled 12-round bout. Both boxers came within the maximum contracted limit of 145 pounds for their DAZN main event, which takes place Saturday evening at Chukchansi Park in Fresno, California.
Garcia (40-1, 30KOs) weighed 143.6 pounds, the lightest weight for the 33-year-old Oxnard, California native since July 2018 when he was still competing as a lightweight. Barcelona’s Martin (38-2, 13KOs)—the reigning European junior welterweight titlist—weighed 144 pounds for his first fight in the United States.
Garcia fights for the first time since a twelve-round, unanimous decision victory over Jessie Vargas in their thriller last February, just before the pandemic. Saturday’s bout will mark his third at welterweight, though with the intention of making his way back down to junior welterweight where he previously held the IBF title.
Garcia also enjoyed title reigns at featherweight, junior lightweight and lightweight. His lone career defeat came in a failed bid to unseat Errol Spence, landing on the wrong end of a 12-round shutout in their March 2019 title fight in Arlington, Texas.
Martin makes his stateside debut and fights for just the third career time outside of his native Spain. Primarily a junior welterweight, the 28-year-old southpaw agreed to a maximum catchweight of 145 pounds for this fight, withdrawing from a planned defense of his European title September 11 in his home country.
The show’s lone title fight pits reigning WBO junior flyweight titlist Elwin Soto versus mandatory challenger Jonathan ‘Bomba’ Gonzalez. Both boxers made weight for the evening’s chief support, which is scheduled for 12 rounds.
Soto (19-1, 13KOs) weighed 107.8 pounds ahead of his fourth title defense. The Mexicali native won the WBO junior flyweight title in a 12th round stoppage of Angel ‘Tito’ Acosta in June 2019. In his most recent start, Soto claimed a ninth-round injury stoppage of former strawweight titlist Katsunari Takayama this past May on the undercard of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez’s eighth-round stoppage of Billy Joe Saunders to unify the WBA/WBC/WBO super middleweight titles.
Gonzalez (24-3-1, 14KOs) weighed 108 pounds for his second shot at a major title. The squat boxer from Caguas, Puerto Rico suffered a seventh-round stoppage in an otherwise competitive August 2019 showing versus then-unbeaten three-division and WBO flyweight titlist Kosei Tanaka. Gonzalez rebounded with a ten-round win over former title challenger Saul ‘Baby’ Juarez last February just prior to the pandemic.
Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez (13-0, 9KOs) hoped to challenge for his first major title, but instead settles for a stay-busy affair versus Jose Alejandro Burgos (18-4-1, 15KOs). San Antonio’s Rodriguez weighed 109.2 pounds for the downgraded ten-round fight, while Burgos—a hard-hitting divisional gatekeeper from Baja California, Mexico—weighed 110 pounds.
Burgos replaced WBA “World” Esteban Bermudez, who was pulled from the show after the WBA refused to sanction the fight with its title at stake. Bermudez was previously ordered to face WBA “Super” junior flyweight titlist Hiroto Kyoguchi in a title consolidation clash.
Rodriguez—whose brother Joshua Franco holds the WBA “World” junior bantamweight title—has stopped each of his past five opponents, including a two-round annihilation of Juarez last December in Las Vegas. The 21-year-old southpaw is a stablemate of Franco and Garcia, all of whom train under 2012 Trainer of the Year and former junior lightweight titlist Robert Garcia.
Below are the weights for the rest of the undercard.
Marc Castro (3-0, 3KOs), Fresno, 129.6 pounds vs. Angel Luna (14-7-1, KOs), Bronx via Dominican Republic, 130.4 pounds—6 rds, junior lightweight
Brock Jarvis (19-0, 17KOs), Marrickville, Australia, 134.8 pounds vs. Alejandro Frias Rodriguez (13-4-2, 6KOs), Nayarit, Mexico, 134 pounds—10 rds, junior lightweight
Oscar Alan Perez (3-0, 3KOs), Houston, 135.2 pounds vs. Raymundo Rios Cardiel (3-6-2, 3KOs), Durango, Mexico, 139.6 pounds—4 rds, lightweight
Nikita Ababiy (10-0, 6KOs), Brooklyn, 159.2 pounds vs. Sanny Duversonne (11-4-2, 8KOs) Avon Park, Florida, 160 pounds—8 rds, middleweight
Diego Pacheco (12-0, 9KOs), Los Angeles, 166.2 pounds vs. Lucas de Abreu (12-0, 11KOs), Miami, 166.4 pounds—8 rds, super middleweight
Charlie Sheehy (pro debut), Brisbane, California, 134.2 pounds vs. Luciano Ramos (0-1, 0KOs), Buenos Aires, Argentina, 137.8 pounds—4 rds, lightweight
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox