NEW YORK – Alexis Salazar hasn’t seen something from Xander Zayas that leads him to imagine the 20-year-old junior middleweight is ready to cope with his boxing potential.

Puerto Rico’s Zayas is 14-0, together with 10 knockouts, and is seen internally by his promoters at High Rank Inc. as a possible star. Salazar sees holes in Zayas’ recreation, although, and predicted to throughout an interview after a press convention Thursday at Madison Sq. Backyard that he’ll make Zayas and his handlers pay Saturday evening for what he considers a matchmaking mistake.

“I don’t assume he’s prepared,” Salazar stated. “I’ve seen his fights. He hasn’t had a combat that’s an precise even combat. He will get fights with dudes which can be 5-foot-1. I’m like, ‘The place the f*** you get these bitches from?’ I’m a great f***** fighter. I work actual exhausting. That is the primary time he’s confronted an actual fighter.”

For the 27-year-old Salazar, dealing with Zayas on a high-profile card that ESPN will broadcast from Madison Sq. Backyard is a welcomed probability to fully change the course of his profession.

“That is the chance of my life,” Salazar stated. “I’ve been ready for this my complete profession. You don’t get a possibility to combat certainly one of High Rank’s prime prospects daily. Ever since I acquired the decision six weeks in the past, I took full benefit of the chance.”

Salazar (24-4, 9 KOs), of Norwalk, California, has labored with Worldwide Boxing Corridor of Fame coach Freddie Roach for his previous three fights. A skillful boxer who depends on his jab and motion, Salazar intends to redeem himself following a third-round, technical-knockout loss to Carlos Adames in June 2021 at State Farm Area in Atlanta.

The Mexican-born Salazar gained every of the primary two rounds on two scorecards towards Adames (22-1, 17 KOs), who later grew to become the WBC interim middleweight champion. Then Adames started bending the principles.

Referee Jim Korb deducted two factors from Adames for holding and hitting Salazar with just below a minute remaining within the third spherical of their Showtime Pay-Per-View bout. Korb admonished Adames and threatened to disqualify him.

Barely 40 seconds later, Adames’ lead left hook knocked Salazar to the canvas for the primary time in his profession. Salazar reached his toes, however he stumbled and Korb stopped their combat with one second remaining within the third spherical.

“He’s robust, however I used to be caring for him,” Salazar stated. “I used to be boxing the f— out of him, however he acquired in my head. The dude was pinching me, he was hitting me behind the pinnacle. I informed the ref, ‘What the f—?’ He took two factors away from him. After which I f— up. I acquired mad.

“He acquired in my head, however now I’m extra mature. I realized my lesson, which is it’s a combat. I wasn’t anticipating it to be like that. I used to be boxing him, and he didn’t know what to do. He acquired pissed off and began doing all kinds of sh!t. It began within the second spherical, after which once more within the third spherical, and that’s when he caught me.”

Zayas-Salazar with be the second of three undercard bouts ESPN will air previous to the principle occasion, Teofimo Lopez-Sandor Martin. The bout between the Brooklyn-born Lopez (17-1, 13 KOs) and Spain’s Martin (40-2, 13 KOs) – a 10-round, 140-pound WBC elimination match – will headline a four-bout broadcast scheduled to begin at 9 p.m. ET.

Keith Idec is a senior author/columnist for He may be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

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