LOS ANGELES -- Bobby Berna of the Philippines traveled 10,000 miles for a chance to become a world champion. Jaime Garza sent him home with a sore head and no title.
The unbeaten Garza captured the vacant World Boxing Council super bantamweight title, recovering from a first-round knockdown and hammering Berna out of the ring in the second round of Wednesday night's fight.
Garza, 122, knocked down Berna three times in the second round. After the second knockdown, Berna, 120, wobbled to his feet and seconds later was sent reeling through the ropes by a series of brutal combinations to the head.
Referee Isaac Herrera of Panama immediately stopped the fight and Berna was carried back to his corner by his handlers. He later walked back to his dressing room in the Olympic Auditorium under his own power.
'I got caught and I was stunned for a little while,' Garza said. 'That happens, you know. I've been down before. I was nervous in the first round. He surprised me and I went down.
'But after I got him down (in the second) I knew he was going.'
Garza improved his record to 38-0 with his 36th knockout. The 24-year-old from Los Angeles was the WBC's top-ranked contender for the title vacated by Wilfredo Gomez, who moved up to the featherweight division.
Berna, 22, entered the fight with questionable credentials. He was ranked No. 2 by the WBC even though he had never fought anyone in the top 10 in the rankings. He fell to a reported 23-2-1.
'He couldn't follow up after the first round,' said Berna's manager, Jess Avrila. 'The kid got too impatient and he got hit hard.'
Berna, who arrived in Los Angeles Saturday night after a nine-hour flight from Manila, stunned Garza with four seconds remaining in the first round with a left hook to the chin. Garza went down and took the mandatory eight-count as the round ended.
Berna came out in the second round trying to end the fight, but a revived Garza responded with furious combinations. He knocked Berna down with a left-right combination 57 seconds into the round and Berna struggled to his feet. But he went down again at 1:14 under another heavy barrage of Garza punches.
He again got up, but with 1:53 remaining in the round he slid against the ropes and was knocked through them by Garza as Herrera halted the scheduled 12-round championship fight.