LAS VEGAS — With crisp combination punching, a left-right hand direct on the jaw, Armando Resendiz forced Elijah Garcia onto wobbly legs to win the opening round of their 10-round middleweight bout.
The Mexican fighter and the unbeaten Arizonan competed in the first bout of the pay-per-view portion of the Canelo-Charlo event Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
And though there was drama from the first round, there were few people in the crowd to enjoy it as boxing maintained its tradition of turning up late to the year's biggest events.
Not that Resendiz seemed concerned.
The only thing he kept doing was peppering jabs and straight hands onto Garcia, who had recovered from the one-two at the start because of a minute break between rounds, yet was absorbing more shots in the second, and never looked comfortable defending his opponent's attacks in the early rounds.
Garcia tried to rally and had his moments in a phone booth fight as both boxers seemingly refused to use the entire real estate that the ring provided.
Garcia climbed back into the fight by using his lead hand as a measuring stick and then powering a straight left into Resendiz's jaw — a shot he kept on scoring with.
Then, in the eighth, Garcia hit Resendiz's body with a left hook to the body, a right hook to the other side of the body, and then a hook upstairs for good measure, forcing his opponent to keep over.
After the knockdown, Garcia began bullying Resendiz against the corner of the ring, knocked his head back with a jab, and landed a violent flurry to force the referee to step in and wave the bout off.
"It was a really hard fight," Garcia said, crediting Resendiz for the competitive battle, as he advanced his pro boxing record to 16 wins unbeaten (12 KOs). "I'm a counter-puncher. I countered to the body and came up to the head. The ref let him fight and I saw that he was still hurt, so I do what I do. I finished."
Resendiz scored the first win of the four-bout pay-per-view part of the Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez vs. Jermell Charlo show.
The Premier Boxing Champions event aired on Showtime Sports.