By Tyson Bruce
Shobox is a boxing series that is designed to help turn prospects into contenders by putting them in step up fights. The program’s alumni are a whose-who of boxing’s top stars. One of the best aspects of the show is the number of memorable upsets. This Friday’s card was no exception, as the highly touted but thoroughly untested Alexei Collado, 18-0-0-(16), was taught a boxing lesson by an extremely well prepared Rod Salka.
Collado, a former Cuban amateur star, was a heavy favorite going into his bout with the hometown hero Rod Salka. The fight did not follow the script, however, as Salka used deft footwork, a consistent body attack and sharp jab that kept Collado off-track all night.
After a relatively close opening two rounds Salka came out blazing in the third round and hurt the naturally smaller Collado with a series of powerful body shots. Collado tried to fire back with looping right hands but was knocked down and badly hurt by a Salka counter left hook. Salka, not known for being a big puncher, showed impressive poise by staying within himself and not trying to force a knockout.
Salka tired ever so slightly in the middle rounds but continued to easily outbox Collado for the vast majority of rounds. Collado did not appear to have any kind of game plan and spent most of the fight following Salka around the ring and missing with wild overhand rights. Salka appeared to gain a second wind in the eighth round as he tattooed Collado with crisp counterpunches.
Collado had his best round of the fight in the tenth when he came forward and landed some vicious body shots on the tiring Salka but it was too little too late. The official scores were 96-94, 96-93, 96-93.
Undefeated Olympic gold medalist Felix Diaz, 15-0-0-(8), scored a highly uneventful split decision over the rugged Emmanuel Lartey, 12-3-2(5). Diaz began the bout impressively by pushing Lartey to the ropes and throwing combinations with bad intentions. Lartey had some success in the third round when he stunned Diaz with a counter left hand. As a result of being hurt Diaz fought much more sporadically for the remainder of the round. Lartey had some success with his jab but used it far too inconsistently to win many rounds.
Final scored were 77-55, 77-75 Diaz and a surprising 77-75 score for Lartey. Although he got the win, it was a disappointing performance for Diaz.
In a battle of unbeaten welterweights, local favorite Sammy Vasquez, Jr.,14-0-0-(10), quickly obliterated Juan “The Beast” Rodriguez, Jr.,11-1-0-(5). After three first round knockdowns, the bout was waved off. Time was 2:49.