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There is a ton of blame to be doled out for the horribly mismatched night of fights that Showtime broadcast Saturday night.
Garcia's bout was originally scheduled as a title contest, but the WBC and WBA—known for their oftentimes putrid ranking systems and handing out “title” belts like candy on Halloween—refused to sanction Salka as a worthy challenger.
Allow that to sink in for a moment.
And, no disrespect to Salka, but you couldn’t help but understand why that was the case once the fighting began.
While watching him lie on the mat, the recipient of a pinpoint left hook that nearly snapped his head off his shoulders, you had to be concerned.
This wasn’t just a mismatch; it was brutal and dangerous, and Salka paid the price.
Garcia, seeming to understand the public outcry coming into the fight, made it very clear that he doesn’t pick his opponents. Matching fights and picking foes is the job of his manager/adviser Haymon.
Haymon is a very polarizing figure in the sport of boxing. He’s highly sought-after by fighters who seek to use his connections and business acumen to maximize both their earnings and exposure, but many critics accuse him of loading the deck and carefully maneuvering his fighters.
Showtime also doesn’t escape blame.
The network, under the guidance of Stephen Espinoza, completely reshaped its brand in the past two years, becoming known for compelling matches and solid top-to-bottom cards.
Viewed in this context, Showtime isn’t immune from criticism for putting on a card that everyone knew featured three mismatches. None of the favorites so much as lost a single round, confirming the lopsided nature of the bouts, and we knew this coming into the night.
There was no drama. None.
And when these types of things happen, nobody wins.
Not the fighters, not the fans and certainly not the sport.