FRISCO, Texas — Mikey Garcia rebounded from his only professional loss 11 months ago to win a 12-round unanimous decision over Las Vegas native Jessie Vargas on Saturday night in a welterweight bout.
Garcia (40-1, 30 KOs) took control in the fifth round, when he knocked down Vargas (29-3-2, 11 KOs) with a hard right to the left side of the face. In the seventh, Garcia pummeled Vargas against the ropes in the closing 10 seconds.
Last March, Garcia moved up two weight classes as lightweight champion to challenge Errol Spence Jr. for the IBF 147-pound championship in an attempt to claim a title in his fifth weight class. Spence won a unanimous decision, taking every round.
Vargas is 2-2-2 in his last six fights, his two previous losses coming in unanimous decisions against Timothy Bradley in 2015 and Manny Pacquiao in 2016.
The 5-foot-11 Vargas had a three-inch edge in reach (71 inches to 68) over the 5-6 Garcia, who is 30.
Garcia, from Oxnard, California, has held titles at junior welterweight, lightweight, junior lightweight and featherweight. He has gone the distance in five straight fights and six of his last eight.
Vargas, from Las Vegas, is a former welterweight champion and a former super lightweight titleholder.
On the undercard at The Ford Center, former four-division world champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez of Nicaragua stopped the previously unbeaten Khalid Yafai of England with a ninth-round TKO to claim the WBA super flyweight title. Gonzalez is a long-reigning flyweight and light flyweight champ who briefly held a super flyweight belt before losing back-to-back fights to Thailand’s Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in 2017.
Gonzalez (49-2, 41 KOs) knocked down Yafai (26-1, 15 KOs) in the closing seconds of the eighth round. Less than 30 seconds into the ninth, Gonzalez landed a left jab to Yafai’s face and followed with a powerful right to the face that floored Yafai, who was making his sixth title defense, to end the bout.
Mexico City’s Julio Cesar Martinez (16-1, 12 KOs) retained his WBC flyweight title in his first defense with a 12-round unanimous decision that handed Wales’ Jay Harris (17-1, 9 KOs) his first professional loss. Martinez bloodied Harris’ nose in the first round, opened a cut over his left eye in the fourth and knocked him to his right knee in the 10th.