Easier Said than done for Garcia
Ringside report by Gerardo Martinez
Photos courtesy of Joel Priest
The last time Mohammad Said (33-9-1, 24 KOs) fought in the U.S. was in 2007 against light middleweight contender James Kirkland, when he lost by second round KO. This time around, he did not do much better, losing one round later, by TKO, to Ignacio's own Elco "The Animal" Garcia (23-7, 12 KOs). Doubling as a travel agent, Said would be wise not book any flights back to the U.S. any time soon.
With the hometown crowd on his side, "The Animal" came out from the locker room and into ring for the first round. As is the case in most of his fights, Garcia used the first round to study the Syrian-born, Jordan-raised and Brazil-residing opponent. Good thing Garcia didn't have to do any biographical research on his opponent; not only would be have been confused, but it would have taken more than the scheduled ten rounds.
Meanwhile, Said took advantage of the Garcia's first round inactivity to be the aggressor and land some shots to the face of Garcia. Garcia spent half of the second round still studying his opponent and Said continued coming forward. The studying was over at the halfway point of round two when Garcia began effectively countering against the attack of his opponent. In an exchange close to the end of the round, the Animal caught Said with a thundering straight right to the face. Said dropped down on two knees a second before the sound of the bell. Referee Mark Nelson proceeded with ten count and Said was able to get up and walk back on two legs to his corner.
Said began the third still somewhat dazed. Garcia noticed and began aggressively pursuing his opponent. He was able to land a grazing right hand to face of Said in the middle of the round, causing a small cut on the left eyelid of his opponent. As soon as referee Mark Nelson noticed the blood leaking out from Said's eyelid he put a halt to the bout, ordered the Animal to his corner and called the ringside doctor over to take a look at the cut. After observing the injury, the ringside doctor signaled to referee Nelson that the fight could go on, but Nelson waved the fight off at 1:31 of the third round giving Garcia a TKO win.
The abrupt stoppage did not come without the fervent protest of Said, his corner and the crowd of 1,400 who wanted to see the fight continue.
"I thought the fight was stopped fairly" said Garcia after the fight. Said and his cornerman Giovanni Andrade, a former Tapia foe, thought the fight was unfairly stopped and should have been ruled a no contest.
As it stands, the result is a TKO.
After the fight, in the locker room both fighters agreed on seeking a rematch, but that will be up to the promoters. Garcia let the crowd know that at 38, "I only got a few more left in me," and his trainer said that his next fight might be against Las Cruces' Austin Trout - a fight Trout's team has been asking for the last year.
As for Said, well he'll continue booking flights for other people and possibly booking a flight back to Colorado for a rematch before the year's end.
In a battle of local light heavyweights, Bloomfield's Victor Filerio (2-1, 1 KO) took on Colorado Springs fighter Mike Montoya (3-1-1, 2 KOs).
Filerio came out swinging in the first trying to surprise Montoya and please the local crowd. Unfortunately, for Filerio, Montoya stood his ground.
In the second, third and fourth rounds, Montoya came on while Filerio slowly diminished. Montoya was able to land some big rights to the head of Filerio. Filerio also was able to land some of his own rights, but the clarity of Montoya's shots helped the judges give him the unanimous decision win, 37-39 times three.
Cruz sharper than 'Diamond' Sanchez
One of the more action-packed fights of the night was given by Albuquerque's Jessica "Diamond" Sanchez (1-3-2) and Denver's Brittany "Pretty Girl" Cruz (7-2-1, 1 KO).
Sanchez was the aggressor in the first round, but with more speed, better defense and more connects, Cruz was able to take the round. In the second, Cruz became more aggressive and was able to land bigger shots on Sanchez.
The last two rounds were much of the same story with Cruz being somewhat aggressive and Sanchez trying to counter. Cruz was just too slick and quick for Sanchez. At the end of four rounds the judges saw it 40-36 times three for Cruz.
Jackson stops Ashurst
Adding some size to the undercard were Bloomfield's Reginald "The Gentle Giant" Jackson (2-1, 2 KOs) and Las Vegas' Lawrence Ashurst (0-1). This heavyweight battle would not last long.
Jackson the much taller fighter, not only had the obvious height advantage, but also the advantage in experience. Ashurst, making his pro debut had to swing up high in order to connect anything on Jackson. He landed a hard haymaker over the low-lying defense of Jackson, dropping the 'Gentle Giant' to the canvas. Jackson was able to get up on shaky legs before the referee counted to ten. Ashurst came at Jackson as soon as he was able to and Jackson began holding to keep from getting floored again.
A bit after, Jackson was able to recover and land a straight overhand right to the chin of Ashurst. Ashurst fell down against the ropes and onto his back. Referee Nelson counted him out at 2:34 of the first round and Jackson took the kayo win.
Lopez TKOs Hodges
In a four-round battle of light middleweights, Jamal Hodges (1-8-1, 1 KO) of Las Vegas lost by third round TKO to Farmington's Servando Lopez (2-0, 2 KOs). The much older Hodges tried to take out Lopez in the first round and was unsuccessful. After that it was mostly all Lopez, connecting with multiple combinations and showing good defense.
In the third round the referee had seen Hodges take enough of a beating and stopped the bout at 1:31 giving Lopez the TKO win.
Springer defeats Fernandez
In the opening bout of the night David Springer (3-1) of Las Vegas, NV defeated New Mexico's Aaron Fernandez (0-3) by split decision with scores of 37-39 twice and 39-37.
Springer was the taller fighter and was able to keep Fernandez at a distance with his jab throughout four rounds. A few of the punches that Fernandez threw throughout the fight landed, but had little or no effect on Springer.