Abregu Knocks Out Garcia in ShoBox Thriller

pac hattonSANTA YNEZ, Calif. (May 2, 2009) – Undefeated Carlos Abregu met the canvas twice Friday night before sending Irving Garcia there with just one second remaining in the fourth round for a TKO win in the welterweight main event on ShoBox: The New Generation. It was an action-packed fight that had the Chumash Casino Resort crowd on its feet cheering for more.

Abregu (27-0, 22 KOs), of Salta, Argentina, overcame two knockdowns in the first and fourth rounds, finally connecting on a straight right followed by a right uppercut sending Garcia (17-4-3, 8 KOs) to the ground before referee Jack Reiss stopped the fight to Garcia’s visible displeasure..

“That was one of the most wildly entertaining fights I’ve seen in years,” SHOWTIME announcer Nick Charles said afterward. “Wow. Some guys would have come unwound after being hit like that. It was all bullets and gun smoke tonight.”

Abregu said he “just got caught” in the first round on a right counter by Garcia but came back in the second round with a flurry of combinations that had Garcia off balance the entire round. “I don’t know how I survived that second round,” said Garcia, of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico. “I’m very disappointed the fight was stopped. I stayed down waiting for the count but it never came. I felt fine.”

Said Abregu, sent to the floor on a left hook by Garcia with 1:27 in the fourth: “I thought my hand was going to hurt I was hitting him so hard in the second round. I knew I had hurt him, but he kept coming. He wouldn’t go down.”

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Abregu said he was surprised with the performance of the 30-year-old Garcia. “On the tape I watched of him I didn’t think he would be that fast,” he said.

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In an entertaining co-feature lightweight bout, Marvin Quintero (16-1, 12 KOs) of Tijuana, Mexico, dominated Wes Ferguson (20-4-1, 6 KOs) of Las Vegas, over eight rounds winning on all three scorecards, 78-74, 79-73, 78-74. The evening was presented by Gary Shaw Productions.

At the end of the second round Ferguson staggered Quintero and then swung big, missing and slipping to the canvas. “I had my opportunities to knock him out but I wanted to prove to people that I could box,” Quintero said. “It was a very tough fight but none of his punches really hurt me. I give myself a nine out of 10. I could have worked harder training for this fight.”

Undefeated super middleweight Andre “The Matrix” Dirrell was in the stands watching his brother Anthony win a super middleweight undercard bout in a first-round knockdown against Alexander Quiroz of Miami, Fla., in just under a minute. Andre was interviewed by SHOWTIME’s Steve Farhood between the telecast’s two fights about his future plans.

Dirrell grew up in the same gym as Ferguson in Flint, Mich. “I’ve known Wes since he was 8 years old,” said Dirrell, who hopes to fight again at the end of June. “I thought he hit the jab perfect tonight. He just didn’t counter. He’s slick enough to be a top prospect. I think he can do it.”

Dirrell last fought on SHOWTIME in March, winning a sixth-round TKO over Derrick Findley to improve to 18-0 with 13 knockouts.

2008 Olympian Gary Russell Jr. fought on the undercard, beating Alvaro Muro (6-14, 5 KOs) of Moreno Valley, Calif., in a four-rounder by decision, 40-35 on all three judges’ scorecards. It was the third straight win to no defeats for Russell, who turned pro in January. Russell was interviewed between fights Friday.

“I give myself a B tonight,” Russell said. “I’m glad I fought someone who didn’t just go down right away. He was tough.”

Charles called Friday’s action from ringside with boxing historian Farhood serving as expert analyst. The executive producer of ShoBox was Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.

“That was the most exciting fight I’ve seen in my eight years doing ShoBox,” Farhood said after the Abregu fight.

Friday’s ShoBox telecast will re-air on SHOWTIME 2® on Wednesday, May 6 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The telecast also will be available ON DEMAND from May 4-May 31.

Mixed Martial Arts is up next on SHOWTIME as the network will premiere a new series for the next generation of MMA stars entitled Strikeforce Challengers. The debut of Strikeforce Challengers will take place on Friday, May 15 at Save Mart Center in Fresno, Calif. In the main event, unbeaten 155-pound sensation Billy Evangelista (9-0) will face BJ Penn protégé “Iron” Mike Aina (11-6-1). The SHOWTIME telecast will air live beginning at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast) and feature up to five fights.

In a special primetime edition of ShoBox: The New Generation on Saturday, May 16 (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast), undefeated and No. 1 ranked 2004 Olympic Gold medalist Andre Ward (18-0, 12 KOs) defends his North American Boxing Organization (NABO) and North American Boxing Federation (NABF) super middleweight titles against Colombian knockout artist Edison Miranda (32-2, 28 KOs) at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif. Also, undefeated John Molina (16-0, 12 KOs) will fight an opponent to be determined and Shawn Estrada (5-0, 5 KOs) takes on Tony Hirsch (8-1-1, 4 KOs) in a four-round super middleweight fight.

MMA resumes on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT) on Saturday, June 6, when Robbie Lawler throws down with Jake Shields in the Strikeforce main event at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. In one of the co-featured fights, Nick Diaz takes on hard-hitting KO artist Scott Smith.

On Saturday, July 11, on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, Vic Darchinyan (32-1-1, 26 KOs) will attempt to become a world champion in a third weight class when he challenges IBF bantamweight champion Joseph Agbeko (26-1-22 KOs) live on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast).