The upset heard round the world
Why do we watch sports? For one, anything can happen. It allows us fans to connect with the 10-1 underdog giving us hope that all things are possible. And in yesterday's Mikey Garcia, Sandor Martin fight something did happen. Martin (39-2, 13 KOs) had never competed on the world level before; this was his first bout outside of Europe. In boxing terms Martin was meant to be a tune-up fight for his opponent Garcia, who hadn't fought since February 2020 and was eyeing an early 2022 bout with Regis Prograis.
Instead, Martin, a 10-1 underdog, shocked the world over 10 rounds, winning on scorecards 95-95, 97-93 and 97-93. In a fight that was supposed to be a mismatch Martin was able to overwhelm the heavy favorite Garcia, fighting off his backfoot and landing clean effective counter shots. "He was the one running around a lot," said Garcia, ESPN's No. 8 welterweight. "I thought I was winning the fight in a close matchup. "I thought I did enough to win the rounds. I was the aggressor looking to make the fight. There's no excuses. That's the way it is.
Garcia was right, he did press the action; however he didn’t fight with a sense of urgency. He took the underdog lightly and allowed him to stick around. "He's a legend. It was a pleasure to share the ring with him," said Martin in Spanish through an interpreter. "It's the best moment of my career. I always said I was going to do it and I did it. "I know myself; I know my capability. He's a complete boxer, but he's not a natural 147-pounder."
Garcia's career has reached a crossroad many boxing analysts believe he made the 147 jump too fast. Garcia captured titles at 126 pounds, 130, 135 and 140. In his bid to become a five-division champion, he was dominated by Errol Spence Jr. in a 2019 welterweight title fight. Since that point Garcia has committed himself to stay at 147.
Garcia was in talks to fight Regis Prograis at 140 pounds this fall, but DAZN wasn't willing to pay to finalize the bout. Garcia decided to fight Martin to give him more cracks at 147. For Garcia the inactivity and added weight seem to catch up to him, as Garcia looked sluggish and slow. He wasn't able to land combinations or catch Martin with the jab.
As for Martin, he puts himself in James “Buster” Douglas territory. If there is a rematch, it will likely be a 12 round fight opposed to a 10 round bout. If Garcia is wise at 33 still being a premiere name in boxing he should move back down to 135 or 140.