Former two-division champion Danny “Swift” Garcia (35-2, 21 KOs) dropped Adrian Granados (20-7-2, 14 KOs) three times before stopping him in round seven Saturday night in a welterweight showdown that headlined Boxing Champions on FOX and FOX Deportes from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
“I’ve said it before, when Danny Garcia is at his best, nobody can beat him,” said Garcia. “I had gotten a little comfortable in the past, but I put my 110 percent into this fight and when I do, I beat everyone.”
Garcia got his offense started early, deflecting a right hand from Granados in round two and throwing a perfect left hook counter that dropped Granados for the first time in the fight. Granados continued to push and tried to change the tide, but an overhand right at the end of an exchange by Garcia sent Granados down for the second time in round two.
“It felt good landing that big left hook,” said Garcia. “I was proud of my performance. I thought I did a great job tonight.”
“He was very sharp in the exchanges,” said Granados. “That’s where he was catching me. I knew that’s what I had to avoid. But the toughness in me is always ready to go. I was willing to engage.”
Granados tried to find ways to slow Garcia’s momentum, but while trying to crowd Garcia he was too often caught with power punches on the inside. Round four saw Granados begin to bleed heavily from the nose and in round five Granados was dropped for the third time, this time from a combination Garcia delivered while he had Granados on the ropes.
“The way to make a statement tonight was to stop him,” said Garcia. “The game plan was to break him down. I have too many tools. I couldn’t let him hang around with me.
“He wanted to get closer to me and make it a dogfight. But I surprised him when I stood with him and banged to the body. Then I started making him miss and that’s when I stopped him.”
In round seven, Garcia landed 48% of his power punches according to CompuBox, and after buzzing him several times, unleashed a flurry while Granados was on the ropes that forced referee Thomas Taylor to stop the bout 1:33 into round seven.
“He caught me with some good shots but I really thought I was fine,” said Granados. “I think the referee was a little over-protective. I had a plan to go the whole fight and they stopped me on my feet. I was still catching him with shots. I was still dangerous and looking for a big shot to change the fight. The referee had to do his job though and I understand it.”
With the win, Garcia will look for more big fights with fellow elite welterweights.
“I hope I didn’t scare Manny Pacquiao away,” said Garcia. “I’d love a rematch with Shawn Porter or Keith Thurman, or a fight with Errol Spence Jr. I’m back!”
The co-main event featured heavyweight contender and Southern California fan-favorite Andy “The Destroyer” Ruiz Jr. (32-1, 21 KOs) scoring a TKO victory over Alexander Dimitrenko (41-5, 26 KOs) after five rounds of action in their heavyweight showdown.
Ruiz flashed the exceptional hand speed that has defined his career, landing hard combinations to the head and body of the taller Dimitrenko. Ruiz stalked Dimitrenko, controlling the center of the ring and picking his spots to unload.
“He started slowing down and I could see the face he made when I hit him with body shots,” said Ruiz. “I just stayed disciplined and focused. I couldn’t get too anxious. I just wanted to break him down until the tree fell down.”
Dimitrenko tried to use his jab to keep Ruiz at bay and was able to cause a welt under Ruiz’s right eye as the early rounds went on. It was not enough to keep Ruiz from coming forward and in round five he began to pile up the punishment, punctuated with hard right hooks that snapped Dimitrenko’s head back.
“We worked on slipping his right hand and coming back with my own,” said Ruiz. “I missed with a few of them but I stayed busy. I focused on just getting the job done.”
After the fifth round, and on the advice of Dimitrenko’s corner, referee Ray Corona stopped the bout before round six could commence. Ruiz was comfortably ahead on all three scorecards and set his sights on another top heavyweight contender for his possible next opponent.
“For my next fight there’s somebody like me, a chubby exciting fighter I want,” said Ruiz. “Adam Kownacki I’m ready, let’s do this.”
The opening bout on FOX saw unbeaten top contender Brandon “Heartbreaker” Figueroa (19-0, 14 KOs) earn the Interim WBA Super Bantamweight title by stopping Yonfrez Parejo (22-4-1, 11 KOs) after eight rounds of action. Parejo did not answer the bell for round nine, forcing referee Jerry Cantu to stop the bout while Parejo was in the corner.
“This is an amazing feeling and a dream come true,” said Figueroa. “I can’t wait for what’s coming next.I thought I was going to finish him the next round. He had lasted pretty well but once I put the pressure up to another level, I knew he wouldn’t be able to continue.”
The 22-year-old Figueroa used his signature pressure early and often, walking through effective shots Parejo landed in the early rounds to establish his position in the fight. Parejo had success landing hooks while Figueroa was exposed on the inside, but was unable to avoid the return fire, especially the body shots that eventually led to the end of the fight.
“He threw a lot of strong shots to the body and I felt my legs go at the end of the last round,” said Parejo.”He’s very strong but sometimes flat-footed and I was trying to take advantage of that. He was too strong tonight.”
Figueroa began to throw even more combinations in the late rounds, nullifying the offense that Parejo was trying to get going. His most prolific rounds were rounds four and five, where he landed 31 and 41 power punches respectively. After a one-sided round eight where Figueroa out landed Parejo 33 to 15, it had become clear that Parejo didn’t have enough on his punches to stop the onslaught. The referee stopped the bout after consulting with Parejo before the start of the ninth round, officially giving Figueroa the victory.
“My conditioning was amazing and I felt strong every round,” said Figueroa. “I’m next in line and I’m ready for anyone.”
After the card on FOX, PBC Fight Night Extra on FS1 and FOX Deportes was headlined by Jeison Rosario (19-1-1, 13 KOs) winning a split-decision over Jorge Cota (28-3, 25 KOs) by scores of 97-93 for Cota and 96-94 and 97-93 for Rosario in a 10-round super welterweight bout
The FS1 portion kicked off with highly-touted prospect Rolando “Rollie” Romero (9-0, 8 KOs) knocking out Andres Figueroa (9-5, 5 KOs) 1:27 into round four of their lightweight fight. Rising unbeaten and 2016 U.S. Olympian Karlos Balderas (8-0, 7 KOs) remained perfect by stopping Luis May (21-14-1, 8 KOs) at 1:07 of round four in their lightweight battle and super lightweight prospect Omar Juarez (3-0, 1 KO)earned a unanimous decision by scores of 40-36 twice and 39-37 after four rounds against Dwayne Bonds (3-2-1, 1 KO).