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Vasquez, Salka: Different route, same result

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Tribune-Review
Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson (right) with Sammy Vasquez Jr. in 2014.
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Dan Grant / For The Valley Independent
Rod Salka's face is bloodied and his nose was broken, but he still won a unanimous decision over Monty Meza-Clay.

The next day after having very different fights, Sammy Vasquez Jr. and Rod Salka both said they felt really good.

Vasquez (17-0, 13 KOs) and Salka (20-4-0, 3 KOs) won the featured bouts of Iron Mike Production’s “Pride of Pittsburgh II” Friday night at Consol Energy Center.

While Vasquez vanquished Alberto Mosquera before the end of the first round in their bout for the vacant WBC FECARBOX welterweight title, Salka went the bloody 10-round distance in earning a unanimous decision over Monty Meza-Clay to retain his WBC FECARBOX lightweight title.

Vasquez said he expected a quick win, but not a first-round KO.

“I watched tape of him a lot and saw openings that he presents,” Vasquez said. “I’m a bigger fighter and I’m confident in my training. That’s why I knew I would get him out quick.”

Vasquez said that getting in and out quickly with no damage to himself is huge at this stage of his career.

“For injury, it is huge that I get out of there that quick,” he said. “For experience, not so much. But I think it shows what level I’m at. (Mosquera) had held two titles. He had a lot of rounds in the ring and a lot of success. For me to dominate him like that shows me where I am right now.”

Salka’s fight was much more brutal.

“My face is really sore,” said Salka, of Bunola. “I broke my nose in the third round from a head butt, but battled through it. I had a big cut over my left eye and my right eye is swollen pretty bad down to my cheek.”

Salka praised the work of his cut man, Buzz Garnic, saying, “My cut man in the best in the business. He did a great job controlling my cut. My cut was as big as (Meza-Clay’s), but he was bleeding hard all night. Buzz is the best.

“My face looks pretty bad right now, but the rest of me feels great. I went 10 rounds and, honestly, I could have gone more. I wasn’t tired at all.”

Recalling the body shot that ended Mosquera’s night early, Vasquez knew as soon as he delivered the blow the fight was over.

“I could see in his eyes after I hit him as he was going down that he wasn’t getting up,” Vasquez said. “I think I cracked his ribs. It was a great shot. Just right.”

Salka, who scored early and often against Meza-Clay said the style of the older, shorter boxer was perfect for him.

“I knew he would come at me and when somebody does that it allows me to do what I do best, score and move,” Salka said. “I was able to use my combinations and keep moving.

“I give (Meza-Clay) a lot of credit because he just kept coming and it was a non-stop fight. But I feel I won every round, most of them decisively.”

Vasquez said the plan is for him to fight again early in 2015, and in all probability in Pittsburgh.

“The plan is for me to fight at the end of January or in early February,” he said. “They want to bring it back to Pittsburgh again. The crowd Friday was great. We’re building a buzz here and it’s only going to grow.”

Salka, who has one more fight left one his 5-fight deal with Golden Boy, says he doesn’t know when he will fight again, but expects it to be in the first quarter of 2015.

“I think I opened more eyes with this fight,” he said. “This was a great fight for me. I’m hoping that it leads to something bigger next year.”

Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or [email protected].

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