ESPN2 results: Ryan Garcia beats Jayson Velez by unanimous decision
Ryan “The Flash” Garcia may have gotten the most important win of his young career Friday night, earning a unanimous decision over Jayson Velez, but it wasn’t his most thrilling. The junior lightweight contest was the main event of a Golden Boy Promotions card held at the StubHub Center, in Carson, California and televised live on ESPN2.
“I feel good but I need to learn some things,” Garcia said after the victory. “I need to learn how to handle roughhousing. Either way, I’m only 19, so it was a good experience. It taught me a lot. (Velez) was a tough guy but I landed a lot of crazy shots. I thank Jayson Velez. I will learn from this experience.”
Predicting a stoppage win under five rounds just before the fight may have had much to do with his disappointment but Garcia gained plenty of experience over the course of 10 rounds against the Puerto Rican veteran.
Velez, 26-5-1 (18), kept himself low for most of the fight against the taller Garcia, and ample body work gave his young foe something to feel early on, let alone be his most consistent attack of the night. When aiming upstairs, however, Velez’s distance was off and it seemed like he was reaching too much but his left hand in particular was buzzing by Garcia’s chin all night. It missed more often than not and, when it did partly land, there wasn’t much force behind it but, had Garcia not seen it coming, maybe it would’ve posed a bigger issue all night.
Garcia, 15-0 (13), did see the punches coming all night and being a step ahead, for most of the fight, warranted three identical scores of 99-91 in his favor. His advantage in hand speed was a given beforehand but, once Garcia established it behind a rapid jab in the second, the young contender banked rounds with his best trait. Maintaining his distance with his feet helped Garcia set up big shots that stunned Velez, on a couple of occasions. In the third, an uppercut hurt Velez for the first time in the fight and, in the fifth, a right hand off the jab had him startled again, in the round Garcia predicted would be his last. All that said, Garcia’s best weapon on this night was his left hand, which did a good job of disguising his lead left hook behind the jab.
In the mid-to-late rounds is when Velez started roughhousing Garcia. Sometimes Garcia was heaved into the ropes, while in Velez’s clinch, and could be seen looking up at one of the screens in frustration. Garcia even used his feet for much of the final two rounds and it got some boos from the 6,625 in attendance whom came to see him headline.
Perhaps their expectations were far too wild, given the quick knockouts Garcia delivered within the past year-and-a-half, during which his popularity has skyrocketed. On this night, an opponent wasn’t put on a tee for the boisterous teen they adore but, whether they know it or not, it was an important outing for Garcia, no matter how unspectacular it seemed.
“I didn’t think he would last with me but I was proven wrong,” Velez admitted afterward. “He needs a little more experience but he’s going to be big. He moves well and was able to keep up with me. He’s a great opponent and we put on a great show. I’m proud of what we did here.”
In the ESPN2 co-feature, Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan got a stoppage win after Berlin Abreu bowed out before the fourth round had a chance to begin. The middleweight contest was scheduled for ten.
O’Sullivan, 28-2 (20), donned a sombrero to cozy up to the Mexican crowd but a kilt worn during the fight showed the Irish roots of the 160-pound brawler. Spike was quick to present Abreu a fight, opening his attack with combinations to the body and, like he always is, there to be hit for his opponent to spark a fire fight. It seemed like one was about to happen in the second round, in which both let off their fair share of shots, but Abreu wintered in the third, once O’Sullivan was getting the better of him in exchanges. Abreu, 14-2 (11), spit his mouthpiece out deliberately in the following round, in which he seemed uninterested about fighting back. He was even docked a point in that instance by referee Gerard White but it wouldn’t matter, once Abreu seemed to have had enough before the fourth round could start.
“He could punch and caught me with a couple of good ones,” O’Sullivan, Cork, Ireland, said about the fight. “I came to do my job and that was get the win. This win doesn’t compare to what’s waiting for me – I’m waiting for my next big stage. Who knows? You might see me on the next major Mexican Holiday Weekend.”
With that fight ending early, junior flyweight Seniesa Estrada got airtime on ESPN2 in the TV swing bout, and she remained undefeated after forcing a bad cut on Amarilis Adorno, 1-7, warranting a doctor’s stoppage in the third round.
“I knew I was going to knock her out at some point – I knew the ref (Zac Young) stopped the fight because of the cut over her eye. I just kept landing my left hook, aiming for her eye, knowing she’d give up soon,” Estrada, 13-0 (3), said. “I hope that the next time I fight, I really get to show my fans what I’m made of. I want my next fight to be a world title (bout). I’m ready.”