Not much of a fight for Garcia

ED MULHOLLAND / GETTY IMAGES Victorious Danny Garcia turns his back on his challenger's corner after knocking out Rod Salka in the second round.
ED MULHOLLAND / GETTY IMAGES Victorious Danny Garcia turns his back on his challenger's corner after knocking out Rod Salka in the second round.
Posted: August 12, 2014

NEW YORK - Danny Garcia had deemed this "The Purge," so when he made his entrance to box an overmatched Rod Salka late Saturday night, he did so wearing a homemade mask inspired by the movie's recently released sequel.

But no matter what Hollywood-themed billing Juniata Park's light welterweight world champion gave the bout, the night's outcome was never much of a question. Unresolved was the manner in which Garcia would dispose of his latest opponent, a lightly regarded Pittsburgh-area native who typically fights at lightweight.

In the end, which came not long after the beginning, an emphatic second-round knockout was the lasting image for the 7,000-plus at Brooklyn's Barclays Center and those watching at home on Showtime.

"That's what I was supposed to do," Garcia said amid a triumphant locker room packed with family and friends. "I came here and did what I was supposed to do. And I'm going to do that to whoever I step in the ring with."

While not at all surprising, Garcia's resounding victory likely served as a palate cleanser in the wake of March's disputed win over Mauricio Herrera. The undefeated 26-year-old bore the brunt of scrutiny from that night in Puerto Rico, critics contending that the journeyman Herrera deserved to be on the other end of the majority decision.

A less-than-stellar showing Saturday from Garcia would have had those same critics back out in full force. Salka, whose lack of rating made this bout of the 10-round, non-title variety, wasn't even deserving of fighting Garcia, the boxing masses had determined.

Detractors will remain despite the dominating victory, as Garcia (29-0, 17 knockouts) proved what a mismatch this truly was. Fighting at a 142-catchweight, 2 pounds heavier than his fighting weight of 7 years, he made quick work of the distinctly lighter Salka (19-4, 3 KOs). The champ overpowered the unranked 31-year-old, knocking him down twice in the first 2 minutes of the second round before the final blows, a right hand to the body followed by a trademark Danny "Swift" left hook that put Salka flat on his back.

"I just threw a right hand to the body and I said, 'To hell with this. I'm going to throw everything I got on this left hook upstairs' and it just landed," said Garcia, who connected on 41 of his 79 power punches.

"It wasn't a tougher fight than I expected," Salka said. "I got caught with a shot. What am I going to do?"

To whom Garcia turns next is anyone's guess. He remains the World Boxing Association and World Boxing Council 140-pound champion but has his sights set on moving up to the 147-pound weight class. His father and trainer, Angel, noted how much better his son looked with the extra weight on Saturday. After weighing in Friday at 141 3/4 pounds, Garcia entered the ring at about 155 pounds, according to Angel, and the difference showed.

The hot topic in Brooklyn after the fight regarded the potential matchup of Garcia and Washington, D.C.'s, Lamont Peterson, who defeated Edgar Santana via 10th-round TKO in Saturday's co-featured bout. Peterson, 30, is the International Boxing Federation champion but would enter a fight with Garcia as the clear underdog. He was knocked out last year by Lucas Matthysse, whom Garcia upset last September.

Peterson said he is willing to fight Garcia, who certainly did not shut the door on the potential unification bout. "I've beat better fighters than him," Garcia said, adding that Peterson's win over Santana "wasn't nothing to lose sleep over."

"I want to fight the best fighters," Garcia said, "and I feel like Danny Garcia at his best, nobody can touch me."

Garcia, who took home $700,000 for 5 minutes, 31 seconds in the ring, would like to get back in the ring before the end of the year. Much remains up in the air, but his father mentioned the possibility that he could next fight at 145 to ease his way into the 147-pound class and then make his 147-pound debut in early 2015.

"I think it is time to move on [from 140]," Angel said. "I think it's time to let somebody else take over that division."

There really are a lot of directions Garcia could turn. Regardless of whether it's at 140 or 147 pounds or somewhere in between, an intriguing possibility is a title defense in Philadelphia. Golden Boy Promotions vice president and matchmaker Eric Gomez acknowledged as much.

"He's one of the top fighters pound for pound, and to fight in his hometown is a dream," Gomez said. "We're going to make it happen."

Wherever Garcia fights later this year, boxing fans will surely hope for more of a contest.

"I came here to purge," Garcia said. "I told everybody that [Saturday night] was going to be the 'Danny Garcia Show.' No matter who I fought tonight was going to get beat. I was going to purge. I was out to kill."


On Twitter: @jakemkaplan

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