Salgado stops Linares in first round
In one of the biggest upsets of the year so far, unbeaten but unheralded Juan Carlos Salgado stopped highly touted junior lightweight contender Jorge Linares in the first round of a scheduled 12-round bout in Tokyo on Saturday.
Mexico’s Salgado (21-0-1, 15 knockouts) delivered a short left hook around Linares’ high guard and dropped the Venezuelan on his back just 45 seconds into the opening round. Linares (27-1, 18 KOs) got up by referee Luis Pabon’s count of four but was obviously dazed as he gasped for oxygen to help clear his head.
Pabon walked Linares to a neutral corner where he finished the standing eight count before motioning for the bout to resume. Salgado was ready to seize the opportunity before him. The 24-year-old challenger rushed from the opposite corner and unleashed a two-fisted salvo that didn’t allow Linares a chance to fire back and quickly crumpled the odds favorite to a seated position on the bottom ring rope.
Pabon began a count but waved the bout off when it was clear that Linares could not continue.
The victory earned Salgado a 130-pound title and instant worldwide recognition. Linares, THE RING’s No. 7-rated junior lightweight contender, has been almost universally lauded for his talent and technique by boxing writers and insiders for years.
The 24-year-old Tokyo resident, who won a featherweight title by outclassing and stopping veteran Oscar Larios in July of 2007 before earning a vacant 130-pound belt last November, signed a co-promotional deal with Golden Boy Promotions last month. Had Linares defended his title against Salgado his next bout would have taken place in the U.S. during the first quarter of 2010, probably on HBO.
After Saturday’s shocking upset, his immediate future is unclear.
In the main event of Saturday’s show from the Yoyogi No. 2 Gymnasium, 122-pound contender Toshiaki Nishioka (35-4-3, 22 KOs) stopped Ivan Hernandez (25-4-1, 15 KOs) after the third round of their scheduled 12-round bout.
Nisihioka, THE RING’s No. 5-rated junior featherweight, broke Hernandez’s jaw with a counter left cross, which forced the former 115-pound titleholder to retire after the third round.
With the victory, the 33-year-old southpaw retained a 122-pound title for the second time and further established himself as one of Japan’s best major belt holders.
The Tokyo resident has enjoyed a banner year, coming off a 12-round stoppage of two-time title challenger Genaro Garcia in January and an explosive third-round knockout of former bantamweight titleholder Jhonny Gonzalez in May.