NABF and NABO super featherweight champion Ryan Garcia overcame adversity for the first time in his professional career in a 10-round majority decision victory over NABA super featherweight titleholder Carlos Morales in front of a sellout crowd at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California, in a non-title bout contested at 135-pounds.
The fight was the main event of a Golden Boy on Facebook Watch card.
The three judges scored the fight 98-92, a baffling 95-95, and 98-92. FightNights.com had it 97-93 for Garcia.
Garcia paced the first round behind his flashy hand speed, hence his nickname "The Flash." The unbeaten 20-year-old connected with quick jabs and lead right hands. Morales applied constant pressure and smothered Garcia, but was not able to land a lot of punches. However, the shots he did land were harder.
In the third round, an accidental headbutt opened up a cut above the right eye of Morales. Both fighters had some good exchanges. Morales smothered Garcia and landed a shot on the inside, and Garcia came right back with a left hook and a right hand.
The fifth round was a close round that could have gone either way. Garcia was finding success with his jab and his counter left hook, while Morales found the target the most when he dug into the trenches and roughed up Garcia with some dirty tactics, including rabbit punches.
A right hand to the body hurt Garcia in the seventh round, and Morales stunned him with a jab. It was the same story in the eighth with Morales landing a left hook that buckled Garcia as he was boxing off his back foot.
Garcia continued to fire his jab, but at a slower rate compared to the early rounds.
Morales also controlled the ninth round with his pressure as he marched forward and attacked Garcia to the body again. Instead of trying to fight his way out of it Garcia decided to clinch, and bought himself some time to recover.
Morales landed an overhand right on Garcia in the 10th, but was unable to follow up, as Garcia held on for the win.
Garcia, of Los Angeles, improved to 16-0 with 13 knockouts, while the rugged veteran Morales fell to 17-3-3 with six knockouts.