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Lowlights and highlights at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn

Photo © Rich Kane / Hogan Photos
Photo © Rich Kane / Hogan Photos

By John J. Raspanti


“I’d have laughed with you if you told me six months ago I’d have this fight. But a lot of things happen over time in boxing and that’s one of the beautiful things about it. You win some fights and catch a couple breaks and the opportunities open up.

 

Rod Salka

 

8/5/2014

 

There was nothing beautiful about what happened to Rod Salka last Saturday night when he faced undefeated junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

 

At the weigh-in a few days before the bout, Salka, shorter by a few inches, eyed Garcia like you would a big brother. Big brothers often beat the crud out of their little brothers.

 

Which is exactly what Garcia did to Salka. 

 

The fight, if you want to call it that, lasted a mere five minutes.


Salka is a pretty good boxer. In his last bout he won a decision over than undefeated Alexei Collado, but Garcia, the WBC and WBA champion for over two years, is not Collado.  

 

He’s strong and extremely determined.

 

Salka used the ring and boxed in the first round. What else could he do? He was the smaller guy in every conceivable way—including punching power.

 

Garcia has iced 16 opponents in his 28 wins. His signature punch is a left hook. That hook put away former champions Erik Morales, Amir Khan,and floored Lucas Matthysee.  

 

When Salka stopped Emanuel Lucero in five rounds last year, it was the first time since 2007 that he didn’t have to go the distance. Salka can’t punch very hard, but he’s a man.

 

Before round two began, Salka’s corner told him he was boxing beautifully. At the bell, he decided to get a little bolder.

 

The guy is a fighter. He started punching with Garcia, who soon floored him for the first time. The punch was a heavy right hand. Salka stumbled near the ropes and went down. He was confused and shaken.     

 

But he got up. A few seconds later, after a barrage of punches, he went down again. The fight was over.

 

Everyone knew it except Salka. After the referee wiped off his gloves, he motioned for Garcia to bring it on.

 

The champion gladly accepted. Salka stood in the middle of the ring and let his fists fly. Garcia landed a crunching shot to the body—followed by-what else-a left hook.

 

Salka collapsed on his back. Not surprisingly, as the referee counted over him, he struggled to get up.

 

He didn’t make it.

 

Salka recovered quickly. Garcia warmly embraced him. They bonded.

 

It made no difference that Garcia is head-and-shoulders above Salka in every conceivable way as a fighter. There’s a code among boxers.

 

Regardless, the fight was a mismatch. Salka had no business even being in the ring with Garcia.

 

When the match was announced, it drew a lot of criticism. Garcia was supposed to be defending his titles, but he couldn’t do that because Salka, who usually fights as a lightweight, isn’t ranked.

 

So the powers that be decided on a 10 round nontitle fight. And they called it the main event.

 

Golden Boy Promotions and Showtime Boxing held their ground and defended the bout.

Word leaked out today that Showtime was looking at matching Garcia with IBF champion Lamont Peterson in December.  That’s more like it.

 

 

 

The story could read like a piece of fiction.

 

Three years ago, then twenty-four-year old middleweight contender, Danny “The Golden Child” Jacobs was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, an aggressive form of cancer.

 

A quarter-sized tumor on his spine had damaged his nerves. His legs were partially paralyzed. Jacobs had multiple surgeries to remove the tumor. His doctor said his fighting days were over.

 

Jacobs ignored the advice.

 

A little over a year later, Jacobs was back in the ring. He won his fight that night.

 

He’s won four more since.  

 

On Saturday night, before the so-called "main event" between Garcia and Salka, Jacobs challenged Jarrod Fletcher for the “regular” WBA middleweight title.

 

Now called “The Miracle Man, Jacobs almost won the crown in the opening stanza.

 

A crunching left hook put Fletcher on the seat of his pants. He rose, but proceeded to get beat on for the remainder of the round.

 

Finally in round five, Jacobs opened up with an onslaught of punches that had Fletcher staggering around the ring. Referee Michael Griffin stopped the fight as Fletcher teetered on the ropes.

 

“The Miracle Man” had done it.

 

"It feels so great to win this belt," Jacobs said in the ring. "It’s the greatest moment in my life. This was so important to me that I trained smart.

 

"This win inspires me to be the best that I can be and I hope it inspires everyone else to be their best too. You can have the strength to overcome anything."

 

You Danny Jacobs are an inspiration.



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