Morilla’s Spit Bucket – Notes on Roberto Duran Jr, Ismael Salas and More

The Spit Bucket is your weekly source of random thoughts, opinions and comments about the Manly Art, compiled by TSS boxing writer Diego Morilla. Follow us every week at #SBatTSS and @TSSboxingnews

Roberto Duran Jr. Begins the Long Road to Emulate his Father

With an excessive media fanfare in spite of his young 27 years, Roberto Duran Jr. (pictured) made his professional boxing debut last weekend and he was up to the task, winning by stoppage in the fourth round against the also debuting Cuban fighter Miguel Morales, in a coming out party for the son of the fabled “Manos de Piedra”, four time world champion and considered by Sports Illustrated as “the best lightweight of all time.”

Durán clearly has a big weight on his shoulders, because even though he appears to have some power and a lot of motivation, the comparisons will be many, and people will want to compare his modest talents with his father’s, considered one of the best fighters in history pound-for-pound, at every turn. So far, Duran Jr. has shown some interesting promise, but it is too early to tell just yet. As good as he may be, he is way behind schedule to reach the phenomenal heights that his legendary father reached. Right now, it is only a matter of waiting and seeing, because boxing is a long road fraught with perils of all kinds. Only at its end will we know if he was able to achieve the kind of glorious career that “Cholo” once had.  – J.J. Álvarez

“Pelenchín” Caballero is Denied Community Work

 The chances of former world champ Celestino “Pelenchín” Caballero getting out of jail anytime soon are slipping away. The Panamanian fighter has been in prison since March 10, 2016, after being sentenced to five years for drug trafficking. This past Tuesday, a judge in Panama denied the boxer a request for community work because the board of supervisors of the country’s penal system did not approve his application. Caballero’s defense had presented a note before the authorities of the municipality of Colon for the fighter to be employed in the city’s landscaping task force for eight hours a week. Caballero, now 41, was the WBA super bantamweight titlist in 2006 when he stopped Thailand’s Somsak Sithchatchawal in three rounds. Caballero also managed to grab the IBF belt when he stopped Canada’s Steve Molitor in four rounds back in November of 2008. He retired after losing by unanimous decision to Mexico’s Adrián “El Diamante” Estrella in October of 2014.– J.J. Álvarez

Ismael Salas: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

It can be said that Cuba’s Ismael Salas is the father (in boxing terms, obviously) of Jorge “Golden Boy” Linares, because he joined the fighter’s career when it was pretty much in shambles and even the fighter himself was pondering the chance of calling it a career after suffering back-to-back stoppage losses to Antonio “Tony” DeMarco and Sergio “Yeyo” Thompson, in 2011 and 2012, respectively. With his knowledge and experience, Salas fueled Linares’ return to the top, and the Venezuelan can now boast a 13-win streak and the WBA 135-pound title belt. But Salas has a big problem ahead, because a match has been made between Linares and Ukraine’s Vasyl “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko, who is moving up in weight from super featherweight, and Salas had already signed a contract with former heavyweight titlist David “Hayemaker” Haye, who will be facing Tony Bellew in a rematch that will take place seven days before the impending Loma-Linares bout.

Acknowledged as one of the best Cuban coaches out there, the Las Vegas-based Salas has worked with a number of world champions from all corners of the world, including Cuba’s Yuriorkis Gamboa and Rances Barthelemy, Kazakhstan’s Beibut Shumenov, and others. There are some who go as far as saying that Barthelemy’s spectacular failure against Kiryl Relikh on March 10 in San Antonio, Texas, was caused by Salas’ absence from his countryman’s corner, because Salas arrived only a few hours before the bout after spending time in England training Haye.

Time will tell whether Salas will give Linares the proper attention that he will need in what looms as the most important bout of his storied career.  – J.J. Álvarez

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