After only one appearance in 2019, Garcia is aiming to be busier in 2020. The Philadelphian welterweight got his year off to a solid start by dominating southpaw Redkach, who was typically aggressive but unable to make a dent in his higher-quality opponent.
Redkach, 33, tried to target Garcia’s body, but the 31-year-old picked his punches effectively to nullify any attacks coming his way.
Timing Redkach well throughout, Garcia busted him up with sharp right hands and lashing left hooks. The seventh was a particularly punishing round for Redkach, with the Los Angeles-based Ukrainian sustaining a cut by his left eye.
Growing increasingly exasperated due to his lack of success, Redkach’s frustration boiled over as the eighth was drawing to a finish. During a clinch, the Eastern European bit Garcia on the neck, although the referee missed the infringement.
At the end of the one-sided 12-rounder, all three judges unsurprisingly scored conclusively in favour of Garcia – 118-110 and 117-111 twice.
Prior to the bout, the suggestion was that a victory over Redkach would lead Garcia to a high-profile clash with WBC/IBF boss Errol Spence Jnr or WBA titlist Manny Pacquiao. Afterwards, Garcia declared that he had no preference out of the two as to who he faces next.
“I’d like to have either of those fights,” the winner said. “My style would look great against both fighters.”
Hurd, 29, lost his WBA and IBF super-welterweight titles last year but is determined to regain his status as a world ruler. Speaking after his win by scores of 97-92 and 99-90 twice, the Marylander stated: “I want the belts. I want the best. I’m not exactly sure what’s going to be the next move, but I want the belts.”
Instead of going on the front foot and utilising his brute force – as has been his wont in the past – Hurd chose to use his height and reach against Santana. He controlled proceedings from the outside with his jab and demonstrated an improved defence.
Bouncing on his toes, Hurd clumped Santana with counters whenever the 33-year-old Californian attempted to close the distance. A juddering right uppercut knocked Santana down just before the final bell to emphasise Hurd’s supremacy.