When Celina "The Sweetheart" Salazar talks her soft, high-pitched voice belies the person who enters the boxing ring with a stoic, but determined leopard zeal.
Salazar is not a wordy attention getter. Oh, she wants attention, but mostly the San Antonio female prizefighter seeks approval in the boxing ring.
Salazar (4-1-2) is emerging from under the radar to face yet another elite fighter in Ana "The Hurricane" Julaton (12-3-1) in a 10-round non-title fight on Saturday Aug. 17. Golden Boy Promotions and Cancun Promotions are staging the event in Cancun, Mexico. Fox Deportes and Televisa will televise.
"I've been looking at her fights and watching with my trainer. She does a lot of stuff, she is really busy with her jab," said Salazar, 24, of her opponent Julaton.
Almost a year ago Salazar fought Melinda "La Maravilla" Cooper in a six-round battle in Las Vegas that was anything but boring. Before the fight took place more than a few wondered why the Texan was fighting someone with more than 20 fights, but after it was over, their wondering proved to be a waste of time.
Salazar can fight.
Cooper, who scrapped for six rounds with the virtually unknown Salazar, gives the San Antonio boxer good grades.
"Celina can beat Ana Julaton because Celina is a fighter," says Cooper, who was mentioned as a possible opponent for Julaton, but refused by that team according to two sources. "If Celina lets her hands go and puts a lot of pressure on Julaton, she should win."
Arturo Ramos, who trains Salazar, was unable to attend the Cooper fight. He had moved to Tampa and could not break away. But he remains her teacher and knows what makes her tick.
"She's very dedicated," said Ramos, an ex-fighter who lost only once in 13 pro fights including a draw with Emanuel Augustus. "Nobody works harder than Celina."
The 24-year-old Salazar doesn't need someone looking over her and making sure that every boxing routine is executed. She has a self-driven professional attitude and moves forward like a monorail speeding toward its destination with no side streets exits. She's focused. She's a professional.
Julaton has more experience professionally including world title triumphs and skirmishes abroad in Canada, Argentina and Mexico. The Daly City native also knows how to self-promote and that's a weapon in itself. A move to Las Vegas really proved beneficial.
"I got more involved and started going to a lot of boxing events. Knowing who is who TV executives and trying to get myself introduced," said Julaton, 33, who's shed the curtains of shyness of four years ago. "I feel like it's another element of fighting. I'd rather see myself as proactive. Boxing, it's my full time job."
The popular female prizefighter lost her title in Argentina due to some suspicious refereeing and lousy scoring against Yesica Marcos. In that fight the Philippine-American spitfire attacked the body and was warned by the referee to refrain from hitting Marcos on the abdomen. It was a ludicrous request, especially with the Argentine wearing a body protector that covered nearly to the chest. Julaton lost the title and no rematch was offered by WBO. Now that title is vacant.
Julaton and Salazar will not be fighting for the world title but for something far more...television exposure. Their clash on Saturday will be televised by numerous stations across the world and especially the U.S.
The boxing world is going to witness two female professionals at the top of their game gleefully exchange blows for the love of the sport.
"Well her record and history speaks for itself. I'll be facing another world champion as I did in my last fight. But none of that matters. Inside the ring it's just us two," said Salazar. "I am the underdog in this fight and this is my chance to show the people what I have... I will leave it all in the ring come fight night."
These two female prizefighters are only the tip of the iceberg. Many more are fighting under the radar.
Sept. 14 Fight Card Speculation
Rumors that the winner between Salazar and Julaton will be fighting on the Floyd Mayweather-Canelo fight card are not true, said Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions.
"The fight card is all filled up," Schaefer said on Monday. "But we'll sit down and talk about something else in the near future."
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV