The crowd were silent. You could hear a pin drop in Fresno. Something improbable was about to happen. How could the man who would be King, Mikey Garcia, so well thought of in the boxing world, be in danger of losing? And how did he not knock Sandor Martin out? He has 30 KOs from 42 fights after all.
How could this happen? A majority points loss? To a man with no real excitement among his opponents?
The Things Experts Want Us To Consider
Mikey Garcia has been been out of the ring for nearly 2 years. Sandor Martin boxed fairly recently. Mikey said after the fight that this wasn’t the reason for the loss. He pointed out, seemingly correctly, that he had a proper camp so was ready.
Garcia was strangely lethargic.
He didn’t let his hands go, certainly, but there was only so much he could do. You can’t hit what isn’t there.
If it had been a 12 round title fight, things would have been different.
Mikey himself said he was coming on stronger, but even at the bell for the 10th round, Martin was still strong. And you fight the fight that’s in front of you. 10 rounds; prepare your gameplan for it.
So How Did Martin Win?
He moved. He made sure there was nothing for Mikey Garcia to hit. Like Usyk recently against AJ, he used the ring to his advantage. At one point in the 2nd round, he was just using the head fake, no gloves up, moving that noggin around – Garcia must have thrown 5 or 6 punches, not one hit.
DAZN commentary pointed out that Martin wasn’t on the ropes long enough for Garcia to hit him. That’s right, he made him miss and I believe Mikey became more tentative the more he swiped air.
By the 6th round we had the information that Garcia had thrown almost twice as many punches as Martin but they had landed almost as many. That shows Martin’s work well.
Martin never allowed his excitement to get the better of him. He had poise. Worked away every round. Didn’t push the pace. He held back, looked for his counter, which Garcia mentioned in the post match interview and made those shots count.
Eventually, Martin was so sure of his work that after a 1-2 combination, after Garcia stumbled, he held out his glove in acceptance that their feet had become entangled. Looked to me as if the punches had certainly helped.
Even when Garcia had Martin on the ropes and the excitement from the crowd grew, Sandor gave him something to think about by fighting out, so that his opponent worried about the counter.
Martin didn’t use the jab as a constant threat, but it helped him to become a pest. Of course, not much was coming his way from Garcia, well, not as much as he may have expected. He even scored with punches through the middle and with the hook.
Afterwards, Garcia said he felt he had controlled the fight but that the judges hadn’t seen it that way. How could they? Sandor was asking the questions throughout the fight and even when Garcia asked one of his own, he had a flip answer ready.
Great fight. Not in the same way as the last 2 big heavyweight encounters. This was perhaps a purist’s fight. The movement was extraordinary. And it was so good to see Martin and his team decide on a plan and stick to it.
Did DAZN win here?
The main event was talked up recently by Eddie Hearn. If course it was, he’s a great promoter. But he talked about it in relation to the amazing run of cards they have from now till Christmas. DAZN are main players and I’m glad to have them in the mix. Eddie Hearn adds the smarts and the personality which sells the matches so well.
Will this have worried them? Nah. The upset of this is huge. They can use that. They should use that. Social media, the sports papers and mags, the fans, will be buzzing with this. Garcia is hot for a new reason; more of that below.
Martin is now a new star. They could secure him and have another talent to work with.
The crowd were quiet on the night, yes. Fireworks displays happened before the fight. That’s right; not in the fight. Sandor was too focused, cool and collected for that. He silenced them. For a fight fan, that was amazing.
The lights may have gone out briefly in the 2nd, commentary stating they expected WWE’s Undertaker to come from under the ring. But this isn’t scary for DAZN and nothing is dead. In fact DAZN Boxing is in rude health.
What Next For Sandor Martin?
He seems quiet. Collected. The shock at the upset didn’t transfer to him. He hasn’t done much outside of his native Spain. So it’s too early to say. He didn’t call anyone out. And very few people are concentrating on him after this fight.
At least it looks as though Garcia is happy to fight him again. If that happens, remembering that promoters and others have to talk, we will see if he fights the same fight and if Garcia can cope with him this time.
Sandor Martin may have to beat Mikey Garcia twice for this success to take.
What’s Next For Garcia?
Well, many are saying he can forget those big fights against the likes of Devin Haney and Pregis Prograis. He has been down before, but he lost to Errol Spence in 2019, albeit at a higher weight class than he was perhaps comfortable at.
And as a 4-division champion with such luminaries as Adrien Broner in his wake, he will be given a second chance.
But if Eddie Hearn is smart (spoiler; he’s really smart), he might want to market Garcia as a damaged champ who is a little brittle. After all, he is now 33, so if he is to be rehabilitated, it has to be pretty quick.
They may wish to pitch him into a big battle. They may wish to try for Haney. It will, after all, be a rise to the occasion event or a cementing of the slip from the heights of the boxing world.
For all Garcia’s talk of fighting Martin again, why would that be appealing? It’s a potential banana skin, if he beats him people say ‘should have beaten him the first time’, if he loses it’ll be ‘can’t even beat Martin’.
He may lean down to 130, as Sporting News notes, he can perhaps find comfort there, as he’s had success there. And lots of boxers have their bogey opponent, but Garcia has been beaten before, recently and that makes things a little different.
Sporting News encapsulated it beautifully; ‘But make no mistake. He was outclassed by an opponent nobody knew prior to this fight. And it wasn’t close.’
Whatever happens, this was an upset. Actually an Upset. An officially Big Thing. One of the biggest since boxing returned.
And the fallout will be fascinating.