Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Boxing [Print without images]

Monday, June 25, 2012
Salita wants to pull a 'Josesito'

By Michael Woods

Fight fans were thrilled to see a real "Rocky" story unfold over the weekend. Fill-in Josesito Lopez stopped favorite Victor Ortiz on Saturday night in California, breaking his jaw and wrecking the plan for Ortiz to fight Mexican phenom Canelo Alvarez in September.

Dmitriy Salita watched the fight, and found himself thinking: Why not me?

The Flatbush, Brooklyn boxer would like a crack to pull off  Lopez, and meet and beat WBA welterweight champion Paul Malignaggi at the Barclays Center in October. NYFightBlog talked about the potential matchup last week, and received a good deal of feedback, via emails and on Twitter. Many folks said they'd like Salita to get a win over a name before receiving a title crack.

I asked Salita what the response has been to the two stories posted about him on the blog. "People have been responding favorably to the match," Salita said. "In NYC,  at all the gyms and people that know think the fight is done and can't wait for it. Fighters and trainers at Kronk also think it's a great matchup.  This fight has been in the making for years so people are excited that it may happen now."

Some folks weighed in, and said that Salita has turned down a bunch of fights over the years which would have been good tests for him. I asked him about that. "Fights don't happen a lot of times for many reasons," he said.

What about a fight against Frankie "El Gato" Figueroa? Was that on the table and turned down? "I was never offered a fight with Gato," he said. "If you're referring to his manager emailing me a few weeks ago? At this point it does not help me prepare for Paulie because he is a short southpaw so the discussion never got anywhere."

What about a scrap with another local, Edgar Santana? Salita said it didn't make monetary sense, and also, he was ranked and Santana wasn't. So what was the use of beating someone lower than him on the totem pole?

"Anyway, what does all that have to do with me fighting Paulie?" he asked. "Is it to somehow justify me not getting that opportunity? Why did Andrey Kotelnik pull out of a fight with me two weeks before our world title fight at MSG, (in 2008), his biggest pay day to that point? Why did Ismael El Massoudi refuse to take his biggest pay day for a fight that was signed against me (in late 2011)?

"The boxing and sports fan in New York loves the fight.  I am getting killed that I lost to Amir Khan and people want to use all kinds of words to describe how horrible it was.  Khan himself got caught by Breidis Prescott, who is not a Khan, now Khan is the man. The reason I came to Emanuel Steward is because he is great at fixing details that make a big difference.  I simply want the fight and if it makes sense for whoever has the power to make it happen, let's do it. Josesito lost his last fight moved up in weight and beat Ortiz.  If I was in the shoes of Josesito, people would be screaming on top of their lungs as to why I got such an opportunity. I simply want the fight. A fight where I am not the favorite to win.  All I can ask for is an opportunity."