In late June, when Golden Boy Promotions and Showtime announced their Aug. 9 card at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, it was supposed to include three world title bouts -- all of dubious distinction -- but now it's down to two.
In the main event, junior welterweight champ Danny Garcia (28-0, 16 KOs) was slated to defend against Rod Salka (19-3, 3 KOs). But while the fight is still on, the title defense part has changed. Salka is a lightweight who wouldn’t rank in anyone’s top 75 much less warrant a shot at the legitimate 140-pound world title. This is an absolutely laughable matchup.
The co-feature isn’t much better, with Lamont Peterson (32-2-1, 16 KOs) defending his version of the junior welterweight title against unaccomplished 35-year-old Edgar Santana (29-4, 20 KOs), who has never faced a legit contender.
And the opener pits Daniel Jacobs (27-1, 24 KOs), a fine young fighter, against Jarrod Fletcher (18-1, 10 KOs) for a secondary middleweight belt in a fight that is the very definition of why there are too many titles.
Ideally, Garcia and Peterson would be squaring off in the main event, but for some reason they aren’t. Some bogus reasons have been used, such as they’re not ready or it didn’t work out. They’re both with adviser Al Haymon, who could have made the fight in two seconds if he wanted to. Supposedly, they will fight near the end of the year if they both win on Aug. 9.
Instead, Haymon will extract an extra payday from Showtime -- which certainly could have said no -- for two mismatches.
So be it. But at least Garcia-Salka is no longer for a world title. It’s still a mismatch, but a world title isn't on the line.
Now brace yourself, because I am about to agree with the WBC and the WBA, whose titles Garcia holds. That does not happen very often.
Garcia-Salka was recently changed from the 12-round world title fight it was announced as to a 10-round nontitle match at 142 pounds, two over the junior welterweight limit. The reason is because the organizations declined to sanction it, which obviously came as a surprise to Golden Boy and Showtime.
The organizations have sanctioned a lot of horrible mismatches in the past and have had numerous undeserving fighters populate their top 10s in each division, but at least they didn’t try to pass off Salka as a legitimate title contender (although the IBF is doing just that with Santana). Salka is probably a great guy, and by all accounts he is a dedicated and hard worker, but a title contender he is not.
So now I leave it my frenemy, WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman, to explain.
"The WBC is not sanctioning the Garcia versus Salka fight,” he said in a statement given to ESPN.com. “Danny Garcia had the opportunity to do one voluntary defense before his mandatory and he opted to fight Salka, who is not eligible to fight for the title. It will not be a WBC title defense. If Garcia loses, the title will be declared vacant. If Garcia wins, he will make his mandatory defense after Salka."