3 More Rounds

Garcia scores TKO in return from layoff

Photo: Amanda Wescott / Showtime

Photo: Amanda Wescott / Showtime

Mikey Garcia (25-0, 29 KOs) returned from a two-and-a-half year layoff and scored fifth-round TKO over Elio Rojas on Saturday night.

Fighting on the Santa Cruz-Frampton undercard in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center, Garcia showed little ring rust in blowing away Rojas (24-3, 14 KOs) following a lengthy battle with his former promoter at Top Rank that kept him out of the ring.

Garcia floored Rojas in the third round with a two-punch combo and then moments later, appeared to end the fight with another knockdown from a big right hand that sent Rojas down face-first.

Rojas somehow continued and he remained aggressive, despite Garcia unloading bombs at every chance. Midway through the fifth, Garcia connected with a right that put Rojas down for the third time in the fight. Rojas showed his toughness by getting up again, but a few seconds later, was put on the canvas yet again from a right uppercut, prompting referee Eddie Claudio to stop the fight.

“The two-and-a-half-year layoff sparked a fire in me and motivated me to do the best that I could,” said Garcia. “Elio is a tough guy and a former world champion. He didn’t come for a paycheck; he came to win.

“Elio took advantage of the opportunity. But we trained for a great performance like this and I was thrilled to get the job done. It felt great to be here with a supportive crowd behind me. I’m looking forward to getting back in there and winning another world title.”

Earlier in the night, former two-division titlist Paulie Malignaggi scored a 10-round unanimous decision over Gabriel Bracero.

Malignaggi (36-7, 7 KOs) used his jab and speed to control Bracero (24-3, 5 KOs), who was forced to fight from the outside. Scores were 96-94 and 98-92 twice.

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