Sandor Martin pulls a sensational upset, defeats Mikey Garcia via 10-round decision
After a 17-month layoff that saw Mikey Garcia blow up in weight during the COVID-19 pandemic, he knew he had to answer an important question: Is he still hungry?
Well, Sandor Martin appeared to be hungrier as he seemingly outboxed Garcia from pillar to post in a 10-round majority decision upset special on Saturday evening’s DAZN-streamed main event before a crowd of roughly 8,000 at Chukchansi Park in Fresno, California.
Judge Zachary Young scored the fight 95-95, but he was overruled by Carla Caiz and Fernando Villarreal, who each submitted tabs of 97-93 for the Spaniard.
“[I would like to thank] Mikey Garcia [for the opportunity]. He’s a legend. It really is a pride and a pleasure to be able to share the ring with him,” said Martin.
Garcia was initially in talks to stage a fight with former junior welterweight titlist Regis Prograis. However, last month, the former four-division champion explained that the fight fell apart due to monetary constraints with DAZN.
But forget the money; Garcia got whooped by a fighter that most people had to look up on BoxRec just to know who he was.
Garcia (40-1, 30 KOs), 32, of Moreno Valley, California, has won world titles at featherweight, junior lightweight, lightweight, and junior welterweight. His first shot at a welterweight title was an audacious challenge of world titlist Errol Spence Jr. in March 2020 in a pay-per-view headliner in Arlington, Texas, but Spence cruised to a shutout decision.
Martin is no Spence and was marketed as a stay-busy opponent. It is therefore impossible to overstate the level of this upset.
“It’s the biggest moment of my career,” Martin added. “I always said I would [school Mikey Garcia], and I’ve done it. I know myself; I know my capabilities. I’ve been [boxing] since I was five years old.
“I said I was going to go out and do this and beat the best fighters in the world, and that’s what I’ve done.”
In a refreshing scene, Garcia, who lost for the second time in his last three fights, offered no excuses for his defeat and gave Martin full credit for the upset win.
“I thought it was a good fight. He fought a very good fight,” Garcia said. “I thought I did the necessary to close the gap, putting the pressure, looking for the fight. He was the one moving, running around a lot.
“He countered me a few times, but I was the one actively looking for the fight; I thought I was ahead on the cards. It is what it is. That’s why there’s three judges. They decided he was the one winning the fight.”
In what is typical for Garcia, he spent the first round feeling out his opponent. Then in a dramatic moment, probably more significant than the event itself, the lights went out in the stadium at the start of the second round, which caused a temporary timeout. But it was Martin who opened Garcia’s eyes with a check left hook late in the frame.
The 28-year-old Martin (39-2, 13 KOs), a southpaw from Barcelona, was cut over his right eye in the fifth round. Garcia hoped that would swing the momentum in his favor, but instead, he ended up chasing Martin around the ring and ran into several counter right hooks in the process.
Round 8 was Martin’s finest moment as he clipped Garcia with a left hand that momentarily froze him on his feet, leaving the pro-Garcia crowd stunned in silence.
Garcia finally let his hands go in 10th and final round, which he probably should have done from the opening bell. He pinned Martin against the ropes, but the latter was able to withstand the onslaught to pick up the most significant victory of his decade-long career.
Martin, a career-long junior welterweight, told DAZN’s Chris Mannix that he might be willing to give Garcia a rematch.
“If he gave me the opportunity, perhaps I can give him the opportunity. It’s something about champions; we fight the best. But really what I want to do with my career is go back to 140 pounds, fight the best fighters, [and] fight for world titles.”
In the chief support bout, hometown hero Marc “Elon Musk” Castro (4-0, 4 KOs) picked up a first-round knockout of New York-based Dominican Angel Luna (14-8-1, 7 KOs).