By Jackie Kallen
This Saturday night in Brooklyn at the Barclay Center, former WBA Light Welterweight champ Dmitriy Salita steps back into the ring for the first time in more than a year. His last fight was October 10, 2012 against Brandon Hoskins.
Surprisingly, the “Star of David” is coming off a long layoff against a man who can fight a little . At 22-1, Gabriel Bracero has a respectable record. He’s a native Puerto Rican, now living in NY. This fight is for local bragging rights.They both have only one loss and this fight is important to each of them.
Salita was riding high in December 2009 when he went over to the UK to face Amir Kahn. Those of us who saw the fight watched as Salita got demolished in the first round, being knocked down three times. The first time was at 10 seconds of the round. Pretty embarrassing.
All the hype for the fight and it was over in 76 seconds. Kahn looked like a monster and poor Salita looked like a chump. He hadn’t even put up a fight. It was like taking candy from a baby.
Salita didn’t fight again until September of the following year. He came back with a win over 13-5 Franklin Gonzalez. It was an 8 round decision. He followed it a few months later with a KO of 16-9 James Wayka. Not the most impressive opponents. But he needed to get his confidence back.
Salita only fought once in 2011, winning an 8th round decision against 13-4 Ronnie Warrior jr. In 2012, he fought twice. He beat journeyman Roberto Valenzuela in August, who was a veteran of 130 fights (having lost 62 of them.) Then he beat Hoskins.
Based on his recent history, some fans are impressed that Salita is taking a risk against Bracero. But Salita is not a fool. He looked at Bracero’s record. He saw that he a year older, a couple of inches shorter, and has no recognizable names on his record other than Chop Chop Corley, who has been beaten 21 times.
I’m sure Salita also noticed that Bracero has only stopped four of his opponents. I doubt Salita is worried about having another Amir Kahn kind of experience. Salita is not the hardest hitter in his division but he has managed to put nearly half of his opponents to sleep. So Bracero has more to worry about in that department.
Unless Bracero has something magical up his sleeve, this should be another night at the office for The Star of David. Both men have solid local followings. Salita has a lock on the Jewish crowd and Bracero will bring out the Puerto Rican fans. Regardless of the outcome, there will be a loud, verbal audience there to cheer on their favorite boxer.