By Jake Donovan
It was hardly surprising when the August 9 clash between Danny Garcia and Rod Salka was deemed a non-title fight. Neither the World Boxing Council (WBC) nor the World Boxing Association (WBA)—both of whom recognize Garcia (28-0, 16KOs) as their 140 lb. champion–would sanction the aforementioned match, since Salka is rated no higher than #36 in the WBC 130 lb. rankings.
There was still a question of whether or not the fight would be recognized as a true world title fight in a historical sense, given Garcia’s stance as the recognized lineal world champion following his points win over Lucas Matthysse last September. That answer came with the announcement that the fight–which headlines on SHOWTIME live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York–will take place at a catchweight of 142 lb.
The decision means Garcia fights in his first non-title bout since becoming a recognized champ following the first of two wins over Erik Morales more than two years ago. It also means that both fighters don’t have to stress over shaving those last two pounds towards the end of training camp.
“When I fight at 140, I feel a little bit weak,” admits Garcia, whose last fight was a struggling 12-round points win over Mauricio Herrera in March. “I’m able to walk around a little more comfortable. Two pounds make a big difference. I’m strong sparring and still feel strong working out.”
Making the fight at that high of a weight would seem disadvantageous to Salka, who is moving up two weight classes following an upset points win over previously unbeaten 130 lb. prospect Alexei Collado this past April. The opposite is actually the case, according to the motivated underdog.
“I’m happy (with the catchweight),” Salka (19-3, 3KOs) insists. “I can make (135 lb). I can get down to whatever weight I need to get down to for a fight. It’s more comfortable for me at 140. I’m fine with the weight.”
Of course, coming outside of the divisional limit means even if Salka were to pull off the massive upset, he still goes home beltless.
That hardly matters to the Western Pennsylvania native.
“I’m fighting the best fighter in the world at 140 lb,” Salka theorizes. “Would I rather fighter for a title against a fighter nobody ever heard of, or fight the best guy in the world? I’ll take my fight purse and make a belt, if it’s about a belt.”
The 12-round bout headlines a Showtime-televised tripleheader. Lamont Peterson–the fighter most hoped would land the fight with Garcia–defends his 140 lb. belt versus Edgar Santana, while Brooklyn’s own Daniel Jacobs faces Australia’s Jarrod Fletcher in a middleweight bout.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America.