By Thomas Gerbasi
BROOKLYN, NY - No one can say it wasn't expected, but in Saturday's Showtime main event at Barclays Center, unified 140-pound champion Danny Garcia halted unheralded Rod Salka in the second round of their non-title fight.
And “Swift” put it best after the one-sided bout.
“I came in here and did what I had to do,” said Garcia of the matchup, which was vilified by fans and the boxing media, and that ended the way those critics expected it to.
After a feeling out round to open the bout, Garcia got down to serious business in the second, dropping Salka to the canvas hard with a right hand just under a minute into the frame. Salka rose, only to get sent to the mat a second time less than a minute later. At this point, it was obvious what the end result was going to be, but the game Salka waded back into battle, daring Garcia to bring it on. That's just what the champion did, with a vicious left hook putting Salka down and out at the 2:31 mark.
With the win, Philadelphia's Garcia, the WBA and WBC junior welterweight champion, improves to 29-0 with 17 KOs; Bunola, Pennsylvania's Salka falls to 19-4 with 3 KOs.
ALSO ON THE CARD
IBF junior welterweight champion Lamont Peterson got mean in his co-main event against Edgar Santana, punishing the challenger from New York throughout their bout before the fight was stopped in the 10th round.
“I was able to show a lot of dimensions to my game,” said Washington, D.C.’s Peterson, now 33-2-1 with 17 KOs.
The 35-year-old Santana (29-5, 20 KOs) gave a good accounting of himself in the opening two rounds as he pressed the action and used an awkward style that kept the slow-starting Peterson from unleashing his offensive attack.
By the third, Peterson was digging to the body and getting Santana's attention, and round four saw several good back and forth exchanges at close quarters, both digging in with hooks to the midsection.
Peterson took control in round five, with his thudding body work setting up a big shot upstairs that stunned Santana for the first time in the fight. Peterson continued to stay in the trenches, and his punishing shots had changed the complexion of the fight.
There was more of the same in rounds six through eight, Santana not giving in, but not threatening the champion either as he absorbed the brutal body attack.
In the ninth, Santana's offense dwindled even further as Peterson stepped it up in an effort to close the show, and while he didn't get it done in that stanza, a round later it was over, as the steady stream of punishment was enough for Santana's corner to ask for a stoppage, with referee Pete Santiago stepping in at the 2:48 mark.
The first time Daniel Jacobs challenged for a world title in 2010, he was stopped by Dmitry Pirog. Then Jacobs beat cancer, and Saturday night, in his sixth fight following that winning effort, the Brooklynite finally earned that coveted championship, stopping Jarrod Fletcher in the fifth round to win the vacant WBA middleweight title.
“This journey has definitely been a long one,” said Jacobs, who was sidelined for 19 months as he battled, then conquered, cancer.
Jacobs was sharp from the start, walking Fletcher down behind a high guard and thudding hooks and crosses. Midway through the round, Fletcher was dropped by a left hook, and things didn't get much better for the Australian from there, as he never appeared to get his legs back under him while Jacobs fired away with both hands.
The game Aussie made it out of the first round, and he came out aggressively for the second, eager to erase the memory of the first three minutes. His punches did little to deter Jacobs though, as the New Yorker put another round in the bank.
Fletcher was more competitive in the third, with his rapid-fire jabs throwing Jacobs off his rhythm. Early in the fourth, Jacobs clipped Fletcher with a left hook and went on the attack, but this time the Brisbane native shook off the power shots and got back to business, showing that he was still in the fight, so much so that in the fifth he landed his best shots of the fight, giving Jacobs plenty to think about as he marched forward. Yet by the end of the round, Jacobs roared back with more thudding blows, and as he chased Fletcher into the corner, the corner of “Left Jab” had seen enough, with referee Michael Griffin intervening at the 2:58 mark.
With the win, Jacobs improves to 28-1 with 25 KOs; Fletcher falls to 18-2 with 10 KOs. Jacobs led 40-34 twice, and 39-36 at the time of the stoppage.