Boxing commentator Bob Sheridan — a veteran of the fight game, who has called more than 10,000 fights — summed up Roy Garcia perfectly as the made his way onto the ring in the colossal AT&T Stadium in Dallas late Saturday afternoon.
Garcia wasn’t the fighter everyone was there to see in the bout. Undefeated 19-year-old Hector “El Finite” Tanajara Jr. of San Antonio was the one. The young San Antonio fighter is Golden Boy Promotions’ newest phenom.
Still, Sheridan said Garcia, a 31-year-old boxing opponent from Alice and a native of Agua Dulce with a 3-19-1 record, had ever right to be in the ring and should be respected that way.
“(Garcia) is an opponent-type fighter,” Sheridan said on the boxing card’s Web broadcast. “You see a guy with a 3-19 record and you know one thing… he loves to fight or he wouldn’t be doing it.”
Sheridan couldn’t have been more on the mark. Garcia does love the sweet science. He lost a four-round decision to Tanajara, but he wasn’t phased by the loss; not at all. In fact, despite the bruising under his eyes and a broken nose, he expects to be in the ring again soon.
“We’ll see what’s next,” Garcia said. “For sure I’m going to be fighting some more. It was my 24th fight. I’m not working right now, so this is what I do. I’m not trying to break any records, but I’d like to get to 100 fights.”
It may not be a record and the decisions may have not gone his way, but Garcia has been busy in the ring these last few months. Saturday’s bout was his eighth since May. That’s a pace that makes his one of the busiest fighters anywhere.
“Right now, I’m just going to heal up and I’ll get back at it,” he said. “Hopefully, I’m fighting again in a couple of weeks.”
Garcia had his work cutout for him against Tanajara in the early underbout of Saturday’s Canelo Alvarez fight card. Tanajara was scheduled to fight Thomas Smith, but after Smith backout late, Garcia was given the opportunity. That call came Wednesday, which means Garcia had only days to prepare for a world class fighter.
“They asked me Wednesday if I could fight him on Saturday,” Garcia said. “I really needed the money, so I said. ‘Let’s do it.’ I didn’t know who he was.”
Not that it would have mattered, but Garcia didn’t know that Tanajara is ranked No. 1 as a lightweight and that he’s undefeated as a professional. All he knew is that he had a fight, and it was a fight that he was going to make the most of.
Tanajara, coached by professional trainer Robert Garcia, outpaced him in the first round and in the early part of the second. Garcia did land a solid right late in the round, followed by a strong flurry of punches. While Tanajara continued to land punches, Garcia managed to land a few of his own.
“I don’t think I just gave it to him,” Garcia said. “I made him work for it.”
Tanajara won a four-round unanimous decision.
Tanajara was a one-time Olympic hopeful who gave up his dream of a gold medal to turn pro in July 2015. The rest of his boxing resume reads like that of a seasoned champion. He came into the fight with only six fights — all wins — but he won eight national championships as an amateur. He also won a gold medal in his weight class in the Veles Cup in Kurgan, Russia.
Garcia is currently training at the Gutierrez Boxing Club in Robstown. He is trained by Greg Gutierrez.