Atlas rants about Danny Garcia vs. Rod Salka fight
(Picture credit: Hogan Photos) By Dan Ambrose: ESPN commentator Teddy Atlas went into a long and angry rant last Wednesday night about the August 9th Golden Boy Promotions fight between WBA/WBC light welterweight champion Danny Garcia (28-0, 16 KO’s) and unranked lightweight Rod Salka (19-3, 3 KO’s) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Like a lot of boxing fans, Atlas isn’t happy about the match-up, because the two-title holder Garcia isn’t fighting a top 15 contender. He’s not even fighting a light welterweight in this case, as Salka is a light hitting lightweight who is moving up in weight for this fight but without a top 15 ranking. Atlas thinks that one of the sanctioning bodies, either the WBA or WBC, will soon have Salka ranked in the top 15 at 140 shortly before the fight takes place in order to give the fight some legitimacy.
The sanctioning bodies typically only sanction title defenses where the champions are facing a top 15 contender. They make exceptions for fighters that are contenders in different divisions in moving up or down in weight to get title shots, such as what we’re likely going to see in December with welterweight contender Tim Bradley moving up in weight two divisions to challenge WBC middleweight champion Miguel Cotto at a catch-weight of 156 pounds despite the fact that Bradley has never fought at 160 or 154 before, and isn’t ranked in the top 15 at 160.
Atlas says that the reason why champions are allowed to fight non top 15 contenders like Salka is because of the by-laws that the sanctioning bodies have. He says they have something written in where champions can defend their titles against lower tier fighters.
Atlas said to ESPN, “What’s the point of having ratings if you don’t live up to your own rules? He’s [Salka] not rated. Oh, they have some by-laws that you need a microscope to look at. That’s the sneaky way that these organizations put a by-law in there; basically saying that if we want to do something different and circumvent our rules and ratings where a guy not rated in the top 15. To do someone a favor, we want to move someone up in the ratings to get a title fight, to get an easy match, we can do it, and that’s exactly what’s being done once again. That’s why the sport that I love has no respect, no credibility. How can you have credibility when these fraudulent organizations have rules that you’re supposed to be in the top 15 [to fight for a world title] and you’re not?”
What’s unknown where is whether Danny Garcia and his father Angel Garcia readily agreed to whoever it was – Golden Boy Promotions or Al Haymon- who came up with the idea for Danny to fight Salka. If they just caved in without thinking it through, then they need to be move involved with the selection of their opponents in the future, because if they had looked at this clearly ahead of time, they would have seen the negative reaction that an opponent like Salka would bring to them.
Garcia is a good enough fighter to easily beat a bottom 15 contender. If the idea was to give Garcia a soft touch to make sure he didn’t get beaten again like he was in his last fight where he was given a controversial 12 round decision over Mauricio Herrera, then they could have picked from the very bottom of the WBA and WBC’s top 15 rankings to pick a guy weak enough for Garcia to beat. Fights like this change the way boxing fans look at guys like Danny Garcia, which is why he needs to put his foot down to make sure whoever is the one doing the matchmaking for him has his head on straight and can see ahead how certain matchups are going to be perceived by knowledgeable boxing fans.
The way that Garcia’s career has been directed recently seems be in a manner that isn’t helping him remain popular with fans. He had a close fight with Lucas Matthysse last September, and instead of fighting him a second time, which is what a lot of boxing fans wanted, he moved on to a fight against Mauricio Herrera last March.
That was supposed to be an opponent that Garcia would look good against in front of the Puerto Rican boxing fans in his first fight in that country. But instead of looking good, Garcia appeared to lose the fight, but he was given a 12 round majority decision. Instead of giving Herrera a rematch, Garcia is now fighting a 2nd tier fighter from the lightweight division in Rod Salka.