NEW YORK - Rod Salka's corner men rushed up the four steps leading to the Barclays Center ring and prepared to hurl a white towel to halt the fight against Danny Garcia in the second round Saturday night.
Salka already been knocked down twice by Garcia's power shots. And the world champion from Juniata Park was relentless. Salka's corner did not move quickly enough; referee Steve Willis did not see their motion.
Garcia rocked his overmatched foe a moment later with a counter left hook, knocking out Salka and sending in the ringside doctor. It was the first knockout for Garcia (29-0, 17 KOs) since October 2012. He threw 117 punches, 79 of which were power punches, according to Compubox.
"I am a human being, so I do feel bad," Garcia said. "But it's either him or me. So I have to do it to him."
Garcia and Salka (19-4, three KOs) were originally scheduled to fight 12 rounds for Garcia's pair of light-welterweight titles. The World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association refused to sanction it as a title bout because Salka, 31, was not in their rankings.
The bout was rescheduled for 10 rounds, the titles were not to be contended, and the fighters could weigh two pounds more than the 140-pound light-welterweight limit. Press materials were rewritten, and promotional posters were edited.
Garcia, 26, received an onslaught on social media, as fans questioned why he would accept the bout. A dominant performance seemed to be the only remedy.
"I told everyone that tonight was going to be the Danny Garcia show," he said. "No matter who I fought was going to get beat. I was going to purge. I was out to kill."
The card appeared to be structured to set up Garcia to next meet Lamont Peterson. The 30-year-old from Washington preceded Garcia with a 10th-round technical knockout over Edgar Santana.
But Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez did not seem interested.
"Peterson? OK, he can fight Peterson. But Lucas Matthysse destroyed Peterson," Gomez said. "And Garcia beat Matthysse. You guys want to see that fight? No problem."