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Build the Wall: Boxer Rod Salka infuses politics with boxing

Lee Cleveland Updated
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Boxer Rod Salka is a huge advocate of "The Wall," and we don't mean Pink Floyd.

On Thursday night in Indio, California, the super featherweight contender failed to impress performance-wise but certainly made a statement of sorts in the ring.

In his bout with Mexican Francisco Vargas, which was televised on ESPN2, Salka donned trunks with the statement "America First" on his belt line with a brick wall pattern covering the rest of his shorts.

... And Salka was eventually TKO'd in Round 6 by his south-of-the-border foe.

Given Salka, an American, chose to make that very public statement while fighting a Mexican opponent, it's no wonder why some think his action was in poor taste.

"I was surprised when (Salka) was coming to the ring. I saw him dressed with a wall on his clothes, but I kept calm. I was focused on making my fight and on my plan," Vargas said to ESPN Deportes.

"Once we were already in the ring, the wall was an extra ingredient [for my motivation to win], so I gave it everything. Whatever it is I represent Mexico and I feel that wall is against all my countrymen."

The Unites States is deliberating about the construction of a massive wall along the Texas/Arizona/California border as part of U.S. President's Donald Trump's plan to keep out so-called "bad hombres" instead of providing amnesty to immigrants already here, ignoring the fact that the boom in Mexican migration is likely over.

"They [Mexicans] are not our friend, believe me," then-candidate Trump famously stated in 2016. "They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

"I would build a great wall, and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me, and I’ll build them very inexpensively," Trump stated at his inauguration in 2016.

"I will build a great, great wall on our southern border and I’ll have Mexico pay for that wall."

More on Salka
Most known for being brutally knocked out in two rounds by Danny Garcia in 2014, Salka, a Republican, ran for Congress in 2016 looking to represent Pennsylvania's 38th District.

He was defeated by Democratic incumbent William Kortz II by a margin of 66 to 34 percent.

Canelo vs Chavez Jr 2016 Promo
Last year, fight legend and Golden Boy Promotions CEO Oscar De Le Hoya took aim at U.S. President Donald Trump in an ad for the May 6 superfight between Canelo Alvarez and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. In that promo, Canelo and Chavez Jr., both Mexicans, are seen crashing through a wall to land in Las Vegas.

“The idea of a wall was a direct hit to Donald Trump,” De Le Hoya told the New York Times. “The comments that Trump has made had really impacted many people and have rubbed many people the wrong way."

"This is letting him know that not every Mexican is what he’s stated they are. Mexicans are hard workers.”

Are these kinds of controversial statements, whether by the fighters or promoters, good or bad for boxing? And, should we expect to see more of them across the political spectrum?



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