The idea was that Mikey Garcia was taking a big risk in facing the dangerous Dejan Zlaticanin in just the second fight after ending his nearly three-year hiatus, but Garcia showed that time hasn’t slowed him down one bit as he brutally knocked out Zlaticanin in three rounds.
From the very start, Garcia utilized his superior height and reach to keep Zlaticanin on the outside, using his jab so efficiently that he seldom had to throw a right hand for the first two rounds. With Zlaticanin already starting to swell after the first round, Garcia began to step up the pressure and letting his hands go when it became apparent that the former champion from Montenegro was outside his depth.
In the third round, Garcia stunned Zlaticanin with a right uppercut followed by a left hook that left him dazed. As Zlaticanin turned to face Garcia, he was greeted with a brutal overhand right that came at full force and knocked him out well before he hit the canvas. Tony Weeks waved off the fight and Zlaticanin laid motionless, requiring oxygen to be revived after the hellacious knockout.
It was a huge statement for Garcia who captures his third title in as many decisions. With the win, Garcia makes up for lost time by not only establishing himself as the man to beat at Lightweight but won in such devastating fashion that he may very well be re-inserted into the fabled pound for pound ratings. Though Garcia has several attractive options at Lightweight, including a mouth-watering unification fight with IBF champion Robert Easter, a trip to 140 might not seem too far off.
With the win, Garcia moves to 36-0 and captures the WBC Lightweight title. Garcia previously held titles at Featherweight and Super Featherweight before his self-imposed exile.
Zlaticanin drops to 21-1 with the loss and will probably not be rushed into action any time soon after such a terrifying knockout. Once he recovers, he figures to still be an attractive opponent for anybody at Lightweight.