Los Angeles (AFP) - Mikey Garcia sent Sergey Lipinets to the canvas for the first time in his career on Saturday as he seized the Russian's IBF super lightweight world title with a 12-round unanimous decision.
Unbeaten Garcia, who improved to 38-0 with 30 knockouts, has now won world titles in four weight classes, his triumph in Saturday's 140 pound (63.5 kg) bout in San Antonio, Texas, making him the third fighter, along with Filipino great Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez to win world titles at 126, 130, 135 and 140 pounds.
"It's a great feeling," said Garcia, who called it "a huge honor" to have his name alongside those of Pacquiao and Marquez.
"It means a little chapter with my name," he said.
Lipinets, 28, was the underdog at Freeman Coliseum despite his status as the world champion. He was making the first defense of the title he won with a unanimous decision over Japan's Akihito Kondo for the vacant IBF belt in November in New York.
"He came in exactly as I expected, very tough, very determined, very hungry -- strong fighter," Garcia said. "We knew he was very determined, and he's dangerous, we had to be very careful."
But Garcia, who was out of the ring for more than two years over a contract dispute, seized his chance in the seventh, dropping the Russian with a left hook to the chin.
"We both exchanged left hooks," Garcia said. "He cut me up a little bit and I landed mine on the chin."
Lipinets recovered and fought gamely through the 12th round, but he couldn't turn the tide.
One ringside judge scored it 116-111 and the two others both saw it 117-110 for Garcia, who said he'd like to return to lightweight in a bid to unify those titles before rising again to super lightweight and even, perhaps, to welterweight.
On the undercard, Karyl Relikh took a 12-round unanimous decision over previously unbeaten two-division world champion Rances Barthelemy to claim the vacant World Boxing Association super lightweight world title.
Relikh avenged a loss to Barthelemy last year, winning the fight by scores of 117-110, 118-109 and 118-109.