The knockdown in the 12th was the difference as Roach avoided a split-draw on Saturday with the left-hook that landed on the top of García’s head with 1:20 left in the frame and drove García into the canvas for the second time in his career.
“Man, I’ve been waiting to hear ‘And the new’ for a long time,” said Roach, who improved to 24-1-1, 9 KOs. “It’s about time though. All I needed was the spotlight. The first time I was a baby – I was 24 years old. Now I’m seasoned. I don’t think anyone can beat me. Nobody.”
On the knockdown that decided the outcome: "We've been working on this shot for a long time, that hook,” Roach went on. “I'm the best and I want to show I'm the best. Anybody who wants to fight let me know because I want to fight all of you. There's a lot of cool champions at 130. I'll take whoever."
In 2019, Roach came up short in his first title shot against Jamel Herring, also a southpaw, but made good on his second attempt on Saturday, while García (16-2, 10 KOs) was unsuccessful in his first defense of his WBA championship after he rose in weight and was stopped by lightweight titleholder Gervonta Davis back in January when García retired on his stool before the ninth round, complaining of impaired vision.
After feeling each other out for most of the bout, Roach came alive in the 11th round, hurting García with a right hand that pushed García into the ropes. The 28-year-old Roach followed up with a right uppercut that also stunned García. Roach connected on 118 of 490 total punches, a 29% connect rate, compared to 93 of 468 or 20% for Garía, according to CompuBox. Roach also held a 79 to 62 connect advantage in power punches and an edge in jabs 39 to 31.