Garcia retains titles against brave and disfigured Matthysse

The Philadelphian coped well with the challengers power-punching throughout the contest to prevail via a unanimous decision and improve his undefeated record to 27 fights since his pro debut in 2007.

Knockout-artist Matthysse, 30, began the fight brightly and seemed to be able to hurt Garcia initially, although gradually let the two-belt title holder into the fight approaching the mid-rounds.

After finding his feet through rounds four and five, 25 year-old Garcia began to impose himself in the seventh as an horrific swelling on Matthysse’s right eye seemed to pop up from nowhere and worsen quickly.

By the end of the round, Matthysse could hardly see out of it and struggled in rounds eight and nine to spot where Garcia’s punches were coming from. A rally early in the tenth gave Matthysse hope, but Garcia continually connected with left hands to inflict more damage on the badly swollen eye.

Another huge effort at the end of the tenth maybe edged the round for Matthysse, his first in a while, and there was all to play for at the two warriors headed into the final two rounds of a thrilling battle.

A huge shot right at the start of the eleventh had Garcia in trouble, although the lack of vision was affecting Matthysse as he tried to get close enough to mount an attack. There was then some controversy as Garcia seem to push Matthysse down and hit him when he was outside the ropes and to add insult to injury, Weeks gave ‘The Machine’ a count for a vital 10-8 round in the champion’s favour.

Sensing victory may have been secure, Garcia turned on the style in the first half of the final round – until a low-blow wiped out the previous knockdown as the official took away a point.

The exhilarating contest came to end with both fighters trading blows right to the final bell, with Garcia prevailing to prove all the pre-fight doubters wrong. Judges carded 115-111, 114-112 (twice), with my scoresheet reading 115-112.