By Lindy Lindell
Photos: Bob Ryder
Last night, local junior-welterweight Johnny Garcia (13-0) swept all three cards versus the Bronx’ Alex Rios (9-13). Johnny Garcia earned his victory. Egged on by enthusiastic locals, Garcia did everything he could to get his man out of there.
Alex Rios wasn’t going anywhere. Garcia may have imagined that Rios, loser of ten straight, was going to be the proverbial walk in the park. He found out otherwise in the first heat of what turned out to be a rousing eight-rounder when Rios bloodied his nose.
Rios bent but he wouldn’t break. From the first round, locals chanted for a Garcia knockout. Garcia tried to accommodate his fans. He hammered Rios pretty good, but Rios wouldn’t allow Garcia to “get him going.” Every time Garcia mounted a rally and thus enervating the locals, Rios would do something more than Michigan boxing observers have been unaccustomed to in recent years, he fought back.
By round seven, the pattern was clear: Garcia was well on his way to a wide points victory, but perhaps egged on by his faithful followers, he wanted a knockout. He waded in for the kill in that seventh round, landing impressively and appeared to having Rios “going” in route to a possible stoppage win (Rios was never in danger of going down).
But Rios fought back and both boxers were whaling away amid the excited crowd’s yells by round’s end.
The final bell, concluding the eight-rounder, had more toe-to-toe action, an uncustomary sight in Michigan rings of recent vintage. This reporter, photographer Bob Ryder, and those cooped up in the overheated Holland Civic Center walked away into the comparatively cool night with a collective smile on their faces.
Promoter Dennis Shimmell had come through with an entertaining show after retarded paperwork nixed a previous effort and son, Jordan, a seven-time Michigan State Amateur Heavyweight Champion, made his pro debut a success with a two-round stoppage over a beefy and largely inactive Kolmarge Harris of Lansing.
In other action, super-middle Patrick Boozer (4-0) was impressive in stopping an overwhelmed Trav Watson, Grand Rapids, in two rounds; Craig Schwallier, Coopersville, crushed Ann Arbor’s Joe Asmann with a single right in the first in a cruiserweight contest; Ra’eese Aleem, (3-0), overwhelmed Delayno Kealophapauole of Flint in the first; and Gabriel Garza, Detroit, pro-debuted unsuccessfully when he was dropped in the fourth round by Hillard, Ohio’s Dominique Foster. Garza seemingly had the fight in hand, winning the first three rounds on Fightnews’ card, but a counter right by Foster had the Detroiter drunk and the split-verdict loser.