By Derek Gionta: Iron Mike Tyson’s promotional entity "Iron Mike Productions" landed in Monroeville, Pennsylvania on Friday night, April 18th, with an eight bout card entitled, "Pittsburgh Power." Before a large crowd and Showtime broadcast, Bunola, PA’s "Lightning" Rod Salka defeated Cuban Alexei Collado, of Miami, over ten rounds, claiming the Vacant WBC Interim Fecarbox Lightweight title.
Salka, 19-3 (3), coming off a defeat against Ricardo Alvarez, a fight many felt he won, knew he had a great opportunity to make up for the tough defeat.
That fight was also on Showtime and some familiar faces called this fight as well, which included Steve Farhood.
The ShoBox telecast was center stage and Salka entered the ring with a look of confidence that he wouldn’t be denied this time around.
Salka started fast, boxing and circling Collado, 18-1 (16). Salka jabbed the head and body of Collado and landed a clean right hand to the face near the round’s midpoint, punctuating the round and earning a 10-9 on my card.
It didn’t take long for anyone to recognize that Collado, the big puncher, would soon open up, looking to land a big shot.
Salka’s plan and strength in the ring of boxing skillfully while avoiding the big punch was well in tact.
Collado seemed to have rebounded in the second, opening up more to the head and body. His signature punch and favorite weapon looked to be the overhand right, which was more of a chopping overhand right.
As both combatants went toe to toe in the third, Salka began working the body and dropped Collado with a flurry of punches, drawing a roar from the local crowd in the Pittsburgh suburb.
Much of the same continued in the fourth as Collado had a cut appear over his left eye.
Round five was a good round for both. Collado landed a low blow on Salka late in the round drawing a grimace and slight break in the action.
The final four rounds were similar as Salka was the better boxer and Collado pressed the action. Collado had moments of success in the fight but the pace was in Salka’s favor from the opening bell.
The judges saw the fight 96-94, and 96-93 x 2 for Salka, who had former IBF lightweight champion Paul Spadafora working chief second duties in his corner.
Salka will move on to bigger and better, while Collado, who is signed as Mike Tyson’s fighter, will have to go back to drawing board and re-sketch was has made him a success thus far.
In the evening’s eight round co-feature, Felix Diaz, 15-0 (8), of Oxnard, California, edged Emanuel "Bukom Jah" Lartey, 15-2-1 (7), of Brooklyn, by a split decision.
The opening four rounds were similar as both combatants fought from close range. Two bulky southpaws waiting for the other to initiate action made these rounds somewhat uneventful, while Diaz was consistently ahead on the punch stats according to CompuBox.
Both men landed bigger shots in the fifth round drawing more reaction from the crowd.
Diaz began working the body more effectively and had success landing through Lartey’s tight guard with clean shots to the head and body. A clean uppercut looked to have punctuated the round for Diaz.
Diaz continued with similar intentions in the seventh while landing a clean right hook to the body in the eighth. A strong finish for the Dominican, trained by Robert Garcia, was clear in the eyes of many at ringside.
The judges saw the fight 77-75 X 2 for Diaz and 77-75 for Lartey.
Diaz claimed a smaller version of the WBC with the win, and certainly looks to be in the right stable while he pursues larger goals in the sport.
Exciting welterweight prospect Sammy "The Who Can Mexican" Vasquez Jr, 14-0 (10), of Monessen, PA scored a dominant first round TKO over formerly unbeaten Juan "The Beast" Rodriguez Jr, 11-1 (5), of Union City, NJ in his Showtime debut.
Vasquez scored three knockdowns in the opening round following a brief feeling out period between the two slick southpaws.
The first knockdown was compliments of his left hand to the head, which followed up off of a short combo. From then on, Rodriguez went in to retreat mode and Vasquez went on the attack.
Two knockdowns later referee Gary Rosato had seen enough, contrary to the packed house which wanted to see more from their local hero. Time of the stoppage was 2:49.
While Rodriguez never made it back to his corner to enter another round, various sources have implied that his paycheck was not worth the beating he received.
Vasquez, 28, and a proud father, will move on to bigger and better, while Rodriguez will look to build himself back up.
Yudel Jhonson, 15-1 (9), W UD 8 over Lenwood Dozier, 9-6-1 (4). All 3 scores were 80-71. Junior Middleweights
Erickson Lubin, 5-0 (5), W TKO 2 over Jovan Ramirez, 3-2 (1). Time of stoppage: 18 seconds. Welterweights
Albert Bell, 4-0 (1), W UD 4 over Micah Branch, 2-10-1. Scores were 40-36 X 3. Super Featherweights
Ryan Martin, 5-0 (3), W UD 4 over Misael Chacon, 1-2. Scores were 38-37 X 2 and 39-36. Lightweights
Andreas Kamouyerou, 3-0-1 (2), Draw 4 with Malik Jackson, 0-2-3. Junior Middleweights
TV: ShoBox: The New Generation
Matchmaker: Chris Middendorf
April 18, 2014