I had never been to a fight in my hometown of Pittsburgh since the days of Paul Spadafora, and I was bought a ticket by a friend of mine who had never been to a boxing match. I had low expectations but some of these fights really were entertaining.
The first fight on the undercard was Viacheslav Barsukov vs. Ramiro Garcia (on my program it was the dreaded “TBA”). This was the Russian’s pro debut and he is heavy handed and shows a little bit of that Sergei Kovalev type style. He is not the sharpest defensively but he really worked the body and showed an aptitude for the pro style because he knocked out Garcia with devastating shots to the body then up to the head. He really could be a problem in the future if he sharpens his defense because of his power. Nice pro debut for him.
The next fight was Antonio Nieves against Jiovany Fuentes. I hadn’t heard of either but I was impressed when after a back and forth first round Nieves made an adjustment and was able to make easy work of Fuentes. He started to box better, sharpening his angles and he cruised to a unaniomus decision. Very good in ring adjustments and good effective jab controlling the fight. I could tell he was a step up from the other prospect he was facing and they may try to step him up in class in his next fight.
The next fight was light heavyweight Leo Hall against Kentrell Claiborne. Now my observation from my seat was that this prospect Leo Hall had good athleticism and a good skill set to build on. His issue was that Claiborne knew that he wanted to box so he drew him into a slugfest early, and caught the talented Hall a few times. Then as the fight went on Hall sat on the ropes and lured the club fighter into a beautiful counter uppercut that staggered him, then he proceeded to drop him for the knockout. Leo Hall has skills but needs to learn to fight more disciplined and not fight off of emotions. Hopefully he continues to improve and his skill set is very impressive.
Last but not least on the undercard was Dennis Galarza vs. Miguel Soto. Not much to say here because Galarza caught Soto cold with a series of devastating combinations, dropping him multiple times before the ref called it off. Good speed and good showing for him. He got hit but took the punch well and he hit Soto with a shot of his own to send him reeling. Not much else to say about the undercard, but I’ll say this about Salka vs. Clay: Great fight! Really got to give both guys applause for a really entertaining fight, but what was really apparent was if Rod Salka had power he would be a force. Really enjoyed him but also liked how they are pushing Erickson Lubin to step up in class and he got pushed. He had to make adjustments against a veteran and took some shots early but he showed he has the tools to be something special. With some more work and more progression I see him being ready sooner rather than later for some tougher fights. That being said I will look to invest some time into these guy’s career now, and look forward to seeing where they end up.