Teenage sensation Ryan Garcia entered the ring at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California, with the squeals and cheers of young women ringing in his ears.
The handsome 19-year-old from Los Angeles didn’t let them down, knocking out Fernando Vargas 2:55 into the opening round of a scheduled 10-round junior lightweight bout.
Garcia, ESPN’s 2017 Prospect of the Year, was fighting his first main event and more than lived up to his rapidly growing reputation as a budding star.
Vargas (32-16-3, 24) rushed out of his corner and threw a wild overhand right that missed, and from then on it was all Garcia. He drilled his opponent with a right to the head and shortly thereafter landed another hard right.
With Vargas, 29, ducked down and to his right, Garcia connected with a left hook that put the veteran Mexican from Tijuana on his back.
Referee Jerry Cantu stopped the fight with five seconds left in the round. Whereupon, Garcia (14-0, 13 KOs) did a little dance that thrilled his female fans.
The multitalented Garcia will have to step up to tougher competition in the near future. Too many easy knockouts will not prepare him for the top fighters in the 130-pound division.
In the co-feature, Eddie “Easy-E” Gomez (21-3, 12 KOs) tallied a shocking second-round knockout of favored KeAndre “The Truth” Gibson (18-2-1, 7 KOs) in a scheduled 10-round welterweight bout. Gomez is from the Bronx, and Gibson is a St. Louis native currently fighting out of Las Vegas
After a slow opening round, Gomez, 25, fired a counter right in the second that caught Gibson, 28, flush on the jaw and put him down on his back. Gibson, beat the count, but referee Tony Crebs ruled that he was unfit to continue and stopped the fight at the 45-second mark.
Gomez, who has lost two of his three most recent fights, rejuvenated his career with the spectacular knockout.