Salka eyes big fight against Collado
Bunola native “Lightning” Rod Salka has moved past a controversial split-decision loss in his most recent fight, and he is one win from a major world championship bout.
Promoted under the Golden Boy Productions umbrella, Salka (18-3, 3 KOs) will face undefeated Alexei “The Hurricane” Collado (18-0, 16 KOs) Friday night at the Monroeville Convention Center in a fight scheduled for 10 rounds.
The bout is the main event of the card promoted by Mike Tyson's Iron Mike Productions.
The three featured bouts will air live on Showtime's ShoBox: The Next Generation, which will begin at 10:45 p.m.
The first fight of the night will pit Monessen native Sammy Vasquez Jr. (13-0, 9 KOs) against Juan Rodriguez Jr. (11-0, 5 KOs).
Salka's fight is expected to start shortly after midnight.
“Starting that late will not bother me,” Salka said. “I get my fitness workouts in late as it is and I am usually up until 2 or 3 in the morning.”
Collado is promoted by Iron Mike Productions and is considered one of the top fighters in Tyson's camp, along with Felix Diaz (14-0, 8 KOs) and Vasquez.
“(Collado) has a different style and is very skilled,” Salka said. “I hope he comes at me, and if he does, that will be great.”
Does the fact that Collado is with Tyson's camp, and the card is promoted by Tyson, bother Salka considering he is under the Golden Boy umbrella?
“I am not worried about that at all,” Salka said. “I have to do what I have to do to earn the win and not leave the outcome up to anyone but myself.”
Salka's comments were partially directed at the questionable scores by judges in his loss to Ricardo “Dinamita” Alvarez in December at the Alamo Dome in San Antonio, Texas.
If Salka wins Friday, he will earn a World Boxing Council Lightweight title show against the winner of next weekend's fight between champion Omar Figueroa and Jerry Belmontes in Carson, Calif.
“With a win (against Collado), I will actually fly out for the title fight next week,” Salka said. “But I am focused on Collado.”
Salka is looking forward to the local support between his fans and those of Vasquez.
“I sold over 400 tickets through last week and there could be a couple hundred more that could show up,” he said. “And Sammy (Vasquez) has a huge following as well.
“Fighting at home is huge because the crowd is behind every punch.”
Salka, who is trained by Buzz Garnic at Garnic's Round 2 facility in Coal Center, said if he does what he should do, he expects to win.
“I am going to do what I do and that is throw punches and dictate the action,” he said. “If I am throwing 100 punches a round, I feel confident that I will win.”
Tickets for the fight show may be purchased by calling 724-797-8694.
Bill Hughes is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.