By Austin Killeen Photos by Mikey Williams/Top Rank – (click on photo to enlarge)
Last night on Top Rank’s Solo Boxeo card Jose Salinas took the next step in his journey to fight for a world championship. Unfortunately for the Las Cruces boxer the journey proved to be a dead end. His failure to win had nothing to do with proper preparation, as Salinas trained for two months in preparation for last night’s fight. This included multiple trips to Roswell and Albuquerque, New Mexico for sparring that would sharpen his skills to maximize his chances for victory. I watched several of his sparring sessions with junior welterweight Fidel Maldonado Jr. and they were excellent. But Erick De Leon was doing his own training with world renowned Roberto Garcia. Garcia runs the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy located in Oxnard, California which houses some of the best boxers in the world.
In the televised eight rounder, Erick De Leon (15-0-0, 9 KO’s) 129 ¾ lbs. of Detroit, MI. KO’d Jose Salinas (10-3-1, 5 KO’s) 129 ¾ lbs. of Las Cruses, NM in the fourth round. In the opening round both boxers were content to feel each other out, throwing overhand punches in an attempt to establish distance. De Leon is a southpaw so jabs would play a small role in controlling the fight. One caveat; De Leon has nice foot work while Salinas seemed to be lunging with many of his punches. The round was close but the ringside commentator favored De Leon.
In the second round there was little doubt that the Detroit boxer was taking charge. With his quicker hand speed De Leon was scoring with over hand lefts to the head and body, forcing Salinas to back up much of the round. This forced the New Mexico boxer to react instead of being the aggressor. Having seen many of Salinas’ fights, he likes to come forward behind punishing body punches. Salinas is not a counter puncher, a role he was being placed in. The third round was a repeat of the second with De Leon looking even better, while Salinas seemed to be frustrated by his lack of offense.
In the fourth round the theme of the fight continued to play itself out when Salinas appeared to throw a right hand to the body of his rival. De Leon countered with a powerful left hand to the rib cage of his opponent. Salinas dropped to the canvas, withering in pain. It was obvious that the blow had a paralyzing effect on his body, as he had difficulty moving his arms and legs. The referee Jack Reiss allotted Salinas the entire ten seconds to see if he could beat the count. The official time of the knockout was 2:47 of the round. Erick De Leon looked very impressive in victory, while Jose Salinas has to be very disappointed by the setback. If past performance is any indicator, Salinas is very resilient in the face of adversity and will be back.