By Sean Crose
Rising star Danny Garcia’s next opponent is lightweight Rod Salka. I was unable to find Salka’s name in the WBC, WBA, WBO, or IBF lightweight rankings. According to BoxRec, however, Salka has scored a total of three knockouts in twenty-two fights. He’s also been defeated by Canelo Alvarez’ older brother.
Didn’t think so. You shouldn’t be. Not to take anything away from Salka, who may well be a fighter on the rise, but he’s just not ready to be fighting the likes of Garcia right now. At least that’s my opinion. Heck, he’s not even in Garcia’s weight class.
Still, Al Haymon, Golden Boy Promotions and Showtime Boxing apparently believe this virtually unknown fighter is a perfect fit for Garcia. Perhaps they’re right. Perhaps Garcia isn’t the fighter people believed he was. I certainly thought he lost his last bout against Mauricio Herrera, after all.
If that’s true, though, why is Garcia still headlining Showtime cards? Honestly, is this what boxing fans are being charged extra on their cable bills to see? I like Garcia, but this fight isn’t even a tune up. Truth be told, I don’t know what it is other than an easy paycheck.
Maybe Al Haymon’s most vocal critics are right. Maybe this is the sort of match we can expect to find Haymon’s stable of fighters regularly signing up for now. If that’s the case, however, Showtime Boxing can expect to lose a lot of the love it earned last year by showing decent fight cards.
Stephen Espinoza, Showtime’s boxing honcho, may be a likable and funny guy, but no amount of glib Tweets are going to serve as Teflon for this stinker of a match. This here’s a bad one. Even if Salka pulls out the upset of the year – and at this point, I’m sure there’s people out there hoping he does – it’s going to be hard for the folks at Showtime to wash the egg off their faces.
In short, Garcia-Salka simply doesn’t hold up under scrutiny, not when HBO is presenting fights like Marquez-Alvarado. Look, when Larry Holmes was reigning supreme in the 80s he would take on supposedly easy fights. Those fights were against dangerous opponents, however. Renaldo Snipes, for instance, was 22-0 when he faced Holmes in a bout that was aired live on network television. Snipes had also bested the likes of Gerrie Coetzee in a career which, up to that point included about eleven knockouts.
Salka, in case you’ve already forgotten, has a total of three knockout to his name. Oh, and eight of his nineteen victories have come against opponents who have lost more bouts than they’ve won. Again, however, this isn’t about Salka. He’s an unknown, after all, and unknown fighters can go on to become very well known indeed. They shouldn’t be facing what’s supposed to be top tier opposition, however. Not unless it’s a Rocky movie.
Naturally, the new breed of boxing fan will be excited about this matchup. After all, a popular fighter will get money and publicity against a supposedly easy opponent. To the new breed, it’s all about cashing in. You can read their thoughts around the web if you so choose.
Yet I’m starting to think this new breed of fan is a lot less prevalent than I had at first thought. After all, less and less people are tuning into to fights they think are mismatches. Just ask the folks at Showtime. Why, then, do boxing’s power players keep catering to this new breed?
Because it serves their purposes, of course. Fights like Garcia-Salka are seen as easy money, so why shouldn’t they go for a cash grab as frequently as possible? I’ll tell you why – because boxing’s fan base at large is on to the trick. Check out the numbers if you don’t believe me. Trust me, you’ll get the point.
Even if boxing’s powers that be refuse to.