Ryan Garcia had a successful comeback characterised by a dominant performance which ended in a rare full distance against Emmanuel Tagoe at the Alamodome in San Antonio Texas.
Tagoe handed Garcia an early advantage from the starting bell by establishing a distance and which allowed Garcia the free will to stalk and punch.
While Tagoe got a few clean body shots Garcia was able to establish his cultured swift left hooks and landed some good single body shots and jabs to the head which drew spontaneous cheers each moment.
Tagoe’s consistent lateral movement around the ring hardly made it possible for Garcia to establish his trademark combinations of punches. However, his reach advantage was glaring. The undefeated Garcia had done enough to bag the round on his tally card.
The second saw a knockdown midway through after a Garcia suppressed Tagoe’s head with his left and quickly followed with a right hook to force him to land on one knee. Before that, the Mexican-American had given signals with a quicker approach and more follow-up jabs.
In one of these moments Tagoe was caught on the ropes and had to quickly swerve and clinch. The Ghanaian who had a reach disadvantage manage to stretch in some good body shots and a hook to the head but clearly did not use the few openings to catch Garcia with his power punch.
In the third, Tagoe got his left jab active and struck a number of times through Garcia’s lifted guard but it was once again the latter in his very composed movement who landed some solid punches on Tagoe.
Garcia was composed and relaxed and would step forward to reply immediately after Tagoe had released his left. Tagoe found it difficult to execute his trainer, Javiel Centeno’s directive to release his right which clearly is his biggest weapon.
The fourth saw Tagoe hardly take a step forward to attack as usual. However, the Ghanaian impressed a few seconds into the first minute when he closed the gap and released a three-punch head combination. Garcia would resume his dominance and calculated power punches. Realising that Tagoe was playing safe he stepped forward more and delivered some stinging shots aided by his swift left.
Halfway through the fifth Tagoe raised his hands to ask the fans to continue cheering his opponent – a trademark strategy that he uses to taunt his opponents. But this hardly had any effect as Garcia utilised his speed more and struck more three-punch combinations.
As usual, the Ghanaian former IBO Champion hardly stepped up and resorted to moving around. Tagoe was successful at flying through his left through Garcia’s lifted guard but couldn’t make any major effect on the fast-punching Mexican American.
Tagoe was also unable to sneak any quick ones between Garcia’s power shots. At this point, Tagoe had not created any trouble for Garcia but looked good to travel against the fourth KO predictions of many pundits.
In round six Tagoe attacked at specific times but still lost the round as his ‘defence first’ strategy got Garcia more productive. The latter hit twos and threes easily while cutting off the ring space created by Tagoe.
The same old story characterised the seventh and eighth. But early in the seventh Tagoe recorded a high point when a swift left hook caught Garcia on the right side of his face. This seems to have charged up the former interim WBC titleholder to switch attack gears. He steadily chased Tagoe around and struck in succession with a mixture of jabs and hooks.
A swelling above Tagoe’s left eye looked aggravated and needed extra attention during the break while Garcia on the other hand looked clean.
In round nine Tagoe was more stable mid-ring and had his most active round. It was pacier and recorded more exchanges between both boxers. Tagoe countered but Garcia used speed and power punching to stay ahead. He was accurate as well.
The Mexican-American was hardly used to travelling this far in his 21 fight career and gave a strong indication he wanted to end it to add to his 18 kos. But that was not the case.
Tagoe started the round by taking the fight to Garcia and kept his hands active but walked to a dirty right. This opened the way for a barrage of punches that stunned Tagoe and had him stagger backwards and slip.
Garcia took over again and kept the punishment going in varied directions.
Tagoe abandoned his lateral movement in this round stepped forward more and countered but these couldn’t create any troubles for the composed Garcia who kept his trademark left busy with an occasional right jab. At this point Compubox statistics had recorded 135 Power punches for Garcia with 50 for Tagoe.
The final round had Tagoe show bigger aggression mixed with strategic clinching after stepping forward to land or exchange. Garcia caught him a few times with the usual power punches. Tagoe activated both hands and pushed hard to counter but steered off danger with clinching.
Tagoe showed energy and strong will in stepping forward to punch in the final moments as he bled on his left eye. But it was Garcia who wrapped up a satisfactory comeback with a unanimous decision. The scorecards read 119-108, 119 – 108, and 118-109 to give Garcia his 22 career win.
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