Dropping two weight divisions failed to affect Roberto Garcia.
Normally a middleweight, Garcia made the move to welterweight and scored a sixth-round technical knockout over Victor Cayo in the main event of a card Thursday night at Hialeah Park and Casino.
Garcia gradually wore down Cayo with solid combination to the head and then stepped up the attack late in the sixth round. Garcia (35-3, 23 KOs) stunned Cayo with (32-5) with a flurry of combinations to the head that prompted referee Telis Assimenios to stop the bout at 2:38 of the round.
“My promoters, managers and advisors were telling me ‘all you have to do is win this fight and I would step into something big,” Garcia said. “So I kept that in my mind. I’ve got to knock this door down and that’s what I did.”
Garcia, a native of Mexico and Weslaco, Texas resident, also welcomed the move to the lighter weight class.
“I feel great at this weight because I’m not fighting guys that are bigger than me,” Garcia said. “For years I had to fight at the higher weight to get opportunities.”
Earlier, Puerto Rico’s Jonathan Gonzalez remained unbeaten after his split decision victory over Mexico’s Rogelio Medina.
Solid punching enabled Gonzalez (18-0-1) to dominate the first half of the bout but he withstood a late comeback from Medina (32-6), who was busier with his shots in the final three rounds of the 10-round middleweight match.
Judges Rich Green and Michael Ross scored the fight for Gonzalez, 96-94 and 97-93, while judge Bill Ray had Medina winning, 96-94.
“I knew it was going to be a tough fight because he was going to apply pressure,” Gonzalez said. “I just had to be intelligent and stick to my plan.”
Gonzalez and Medina (32-6) wasted little to time for a feeling out round and traded at a brisk pace the opening three minutes. Gonzalez connected with left hooks to the head and Medina was effective with combinations to the head.
The frequent exchanges prompted cheers from the crowd, which included world middleweight champion Sergio Martinez. Martinez, who sat at ringside, is training in Miami for his June 7 title defense against Miguel Cotto.
Gonzalez continued to pressure Medina with left hooks to the head and right uppercuts as the bout progressed into the middle rounds. A game Medina combined with short combinations to the head but Gonzalez was intent on walking through his opponent’s shots.
Medina increased his punch volume in the eighth as he peppered the still pressing Gonzalez with short combinations to the head. Medina maintained the busy pace in the final two rounds with additional combinations from short range.
The card’s main event – welterweight bout between Mexico’s Roberto Garcia and the Dominican Republic’s Victor Cayo –and a light-heavyweight match between Yunieski Gonzalez and Jaison Palomeque were fought late on Thursday.
Earlier, Jacksonville resident Steven Chadwick was taken to Hialeah Hospital after sustaining a concussion in his first-round TKO loss against Miami resident Ahmed Elbiali.
Elbiali (4-0, 4 KOs) knocked Chadwick out cold with unanswered combinations to the head. Referee Sam Burgos prevented Chadwick (2-6) from additional harm and hitting his head on the canvas and stopped the light-heavyweight bout at 1:02 of the round.
Emergency personnel and ringside physicians immediately tended to Chadwick with oxygen. Chadwick regained consciousness but was placed on a stretcher and transported to the hospital for observation.
In other bouts: light-heavyweight Yunieski Gonzalez scored a TKO over Jaison Palomeque at 47 seconds of the first round; middleweight James McGirt Jr. scored a TKO over Larry Smith at 2:55 of the first round; lightweight Carlos Ivan Velasquez won by unanimous decision against Guillermo Sanchez; light-heavyweight Vilier Quiñones scored a TKO over Edgar Perez at 58 seconds of the first round; junior-lightweight Juan Carlos Velasquez won by majority decision against Rogers Mtagwa.