Updated at: 01/26/2013 10:37 PM
(AP) NEW YORK - Mikey Garcia won a unanimous decision over Orlando Salido to take the WBO world featherweight title Saturday night.
The fight was stopped after the eighth round when an accidental headbutt by Salido broke Garcia’s nose near the end of the round. Garcia won by scores of 79-70, 79-69 and 79-69.
"It is very broken," said Dr. Robert Polofsky, one of two New York State Athletic Commission physicians. "He couldn’t breathe. It’s too dangerous to have him continue the fight like that. So we made the decision to stop the fight."
Garcia said: "I didn’t know my nose was broken. But I felt the pain from the head butt."
Even before the accidental head butt, Garcia (31-0) was dominating the fight, having knocked Salido down four times before the fight was stopped. Salido (39-12-2) failed to retain the belt that he won two years ago from Juan Manuel Lopez and lost for the first time in six fights. By the time the fight ended, he had swelling under his right eye.
Before the stoppage, Garcia was winning six rounds on fight judge Don Ackerman’s scorecard and seven on Julie Lederman’s and John Stewart’s cards. Garcia also dominated by landing 39 percent of his punches, including 51 percent of his power punches. Despite those overwhelming numbers, he still was disappointed that he did not record his 27th career knockout.
"It’s a great feeling," Garcia said. "But I would have preferred the fight to go 12 rounds and finish the fight. If it would have been a knockout it would have been even better.
The timing of the stoppage also may have worked to Garcia’s advantage.
Salido began coming on in the seventh round, the only round he won on two scorecards. Salido also felt if the fight had gone longer that it could have given him more time to record a knockout.
"In the seventh round, I felt like I was getting to him," Salido said through an interpreter. "I had five rounds to get this guy and I felt like I was on my way.
Before that flurry in the seventh, a Salido victory did not even seem possible.
"It was a unanimous decision win and I was beating him up," Garcia said. "I was working to keep him off me with the jab. If I could breathe better, I would have continued to fight. We had a game plan and it was working perfectly."
Garcia set a dominating tone right from the start as he knocked Salido down twice in opening round. Garcia knocked Salido down with a hard right cross halfway through the round and then dropped him again with a sweeping left hook just before the bell.
After Salido survived the second round, he went down for a third time midway through the third when Garcia used his uppercut. That sent Salido off-balance to the point where his glove touched the canvas.
Garcia recorded another knockdown midway through the fourth by getting Salido to run into a left jab.
The opener of the triple-header was a draw as Rocky Martinez (26-1-12) retained his WBO junior lightweight title against Juan Carlos Burgos (26-1-2). One judge had Burgos winning handily at 117-111 while another thought Martinez won easily 116-112 but it was the 114-114 score that helped Martinez retain his belt.
In the other undercard, Gennady Golovkin (25-0) retained his WBA middleweight title with a bloody victory over Gabriel Rosado (21-6) that resulted in a seventh-round TKO. Rosado began bleeding in the second round with a cut under his left eye that eventually trickled down his face and trainer Billy Briscoe threw in the towel with 14 seconds remaining in the seventh round, giving Golovkin his 22nd career knockout despite reportedly being sick two days earlier.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)