American boxer Rod Salka may have been making a political statement or just taking an early jab at Mexican boxer Francisco Vargas when he entered the ring Thursday in red-white-and-blue trunks featuring a brick-wall pattern that read “America 1st” across the belt.
Either way, Salka’s antics fell short.
Vargas pummeled Salka for six rounds before the American boxer quit on his stool.
The California match may have ended early, but it was revived when video of the fight went viral on social media. People on Twitter poked fun at Salka and his seeming support of President Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.
A beautiful distillation of my feelings on bigotry on an individual level: ‘You can say/believe whatever it is you want; I wouldn’t dream of stopping you. Similarly, you probably can’t stop these hands.’
Salka is familiar with failed political bids. In 2016, he ran as a Republican for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. He lost to Democratic incumbent William Kortz by more than 30 percentage points.
In the fifth round, Vargas landed a powerful right upper cut that sent Salka to his knees, but he was ultimately saved by the bell.
The sixth round saw blood and bruising as Vargas punched Salka’s left eye, leaving a cut and nearly closing it. The seventh round never happened because Salka’s corner ended the fight.
Vargas told ESPN Deportes he was shocked by the trunks.
“I was surprised when (Salka) was coming to the ring. I saw him dressed with a wall on his clothes, or representing the wall, but I kept calm. I was focused on making my fight and on my plan,” Vargas said in Spanish to ESPN Deportes.
“Once we were already in the ring, the wall was an extra ingredient (for my motivation to win), so when I had him head on, I gave it everything. Whatever it is I represent Mexico, and I feel that everything about that wall is against all my countrymen.”
Social media jabs at Salka, his brick-wall boxing shorts and Trump’s wall
Rod Salka wore “America First” with Trump’s brick wall decorating his trunks… & a Mexican fighter just broke him down & made quit on his stool. Breaking Trumps wall. You can’t make this stuff up. Only in boxing ?? pic.twitter.com/rfIXyXvljm
In a boxing match last night, Rob Salka (American) battled Francisco Vargas (Mexican). Salka had a wall printed on his shorts, an homage to Trump’s proposed wall. In the end, the Vargas won. So, an American made the wall and, ironically, an American paid for it. pic.twitter.com/7UwqxXsOzX