Salute to Hector Luis Garcia, who shocked the world with his brilliant victory over then-unbeaten Chris Colbert in February.
Sometimes success in boxing is the product of being in the right place at the right time.
Chris Colbert, a fast-rising young star, was scheduled to challenge WBA super featherweight champion Roger Gutierrez on Feb. 26 at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas but was left without an opponent when Gutierrez pulled out after testing positive for COVID-19 three weeks before the fight.
Enter Hector Luis Garcia.
The 2016 Olympian from the Dominican Republic had only 15 professional fights under his belt and was largely unknown on the international stage. However, he was competent and more than willing to step in for Gutierrez on short notice so Colbert could stay busy.
Colbert was more than a 20-1 favorite, meaning oddsmakers gave the late replacement almost no chance to win.
“He’s going to learn firsthand how dangerous I am,” the unbeaten Colbert said.
Well, we all would learn a great deal but it wasn’t the lesson that Colbert had in mind. Not even close.
Garcia, never intimidated by his opponent or the moment, fought like a man possessed. He walked through everything the quick-handed Colbert threw at him to land hard, accurate combinations almost at will from beginning to end.
The proud Colbert never stopped trying. He simply couldn’t find a way to slow down a runaway train.
The most dramatic moment came in Round 7, when Colbert ran into a counter left hand and ended up flat on his back. He was able to get up and continue but it seemed to be mission impossible for him, as he continued to wilt – physically and emotionally – under Garcia’s cruelly efficient attack in the second half of what had become a one-sided fight.
In the end, Garcia had dished out a thorough beating in the 2022 Premier Boxing Champions Upset of the Year.
“In the ninth and 10th rounds I hit him so hard,” Garcia said. “I knew I had him. I knew he wasn’t going to be able to box anymore.”
The official scoring was no surprise: 119-108 (11 rounds to one), 118-109 and 118-109, all for Garcia.
Colbert graciously stated the obvious when he said afterward, “He was the better man today.”
Just like that, the 31-year-old from a burgeoning hotbed of boxing went from an obscure afterthought to a major player in the 130-pound division and a potential star in his own right.
“I feel great,” an elated Garcia said in the ring afterward. “I definitely knew three weeks ago that my life would change. My trainers gave me the confidence to win this fight.”
Garcia (16-0, 10 KOs) was just getting started. The victory over Colbert earned him a shot at Gutierrez on Aug. 20. And he gave another dominating performance, winning a lopsided decision to become a world titleholder.
Next up for him? The biggest and most lucrative fight of his life, a showdown with pound-for-pound superstar Gervonta "Tank" Davis on Saturday, January 7, at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C., live on SHOWTIME Pay-Per-View (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
That’s the kind of opportunity that can come your way when you deliver the biggest upset of the year, as Garcia did last winter.
For a closer look at Hector Luis Garcia, check out his fighter page.
- Hector Luis Garcia