The three favored fighters took care of business on Saturday to nobody’s surprise.
The first bout between cancer-survivor Daniel Jacobs and Australian contender Jarrod Fletcher proved to be the most satisfying because of Jacobs’ journey from staring at his own mortality to winning the vacant WBA title. It should be noted Gennady Golovkin is the WBA’s “super champion” and the belt Jacobs won is the “regular” title…whatever that means.
Jacobs tried to end the fight early after dropping Fletcher in the opening round with a compact left hook. Fletcher (18-2, 10K) managed to survive the round and a perhaps arm-weary Jacobs (28-1, 25KO) simply followed Fletcher in round 2 as the Australian tried to regain his composure and confidence.
The fight continued to progress against Fletcher as Jacobs regained control by the third round. The Brooklyn native stepped up the pace in round 5 and nailed Fletcher with a series of blows, forcing him to fall back to the ropes. The referee waved the fight off after that knockdown.
Jacobs’ inspiring performance earned him his nickname “The Miracle Man” even though he was the favorite going into the fight because of his battle with cancer and the resilience he’s shown in and outside the ring.
In the co-feature of the evening, IBF junior welterweight titleholder Lamont Peterson defended his belt against Edgar Santana (29-5, 20KO).
The fight was one-sided from the opening bell as Peterson (33-2-1, 17KO) pummeled Santana with power shots to the head and body which weakened Santana as the fight wore on. Santana showed he could take a good shot but seemed out of the fight as he couldn’t deal with the mixed offensive and defensive skills of Peterson. The referee saw enough towards the end of the 10th round and waved the fight off.
In the biggest mismatch of the night junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia blew out unranked Rod Salka (19-4, 3KO) in two rounds to bounce back from a controversial win over Mauricio Herrera.
Garcia (29-0, 17KO) looked like the bigger man when they met in the ring and it became more apparent as his shots landed with a thud every time it seemed. Salka was game but simply overmatched in every conceivable category.
Garcia first knocked down Salka with a right hand in round 2. One knockdown from a series of blows later a crushing left hook on Salka’s chin put him on his back and the referee saw that no count was necessary and waved the fight off.
Garcia didn’t accomplish much in beating Salka other than staying busy and rebuilding some confidence he may have lost in his last fight when Herrera gave him a much tougher than expected outing that some experts believe he actually lost. Garcia mentioned the possibility of facing Peterson but considering the fight was contracted one pound over the junior welterweight limit it can be assumed Garcia is having difficulties making weight now.
A fight with Garcia and Peterson is still a possibility regardless of the weight but if the fight were to take place at junior welterweight it would be the biggest fight the division’s seen since Garcia’s unanimous decision victory last September over Lucas Matthyssee.