Salas in Contender final
It will be Team Jamaica versus Team Canada in the finals of the Wray and Nephew 2018 Contender series on July 25 as Canada's Ricardo 'Magic Man' Salas knocked out Devon 'Concrete' Moncriffe at two minutes and 25 seconds of the first round on Wednesday night at the Chinese Benevolent Association Auditorium to book his place in the final.
He will trade punches with Richard 'Frog' Holmes, who, on July 4, earned his place in the finals with a split-decision victory over Canada's David Leblond. Salas now has a 10-1 record with nine stoppages, while Moncriffe falls to 14-9-1.
It was a case of lightning striking twice, because when they met in Canada on October 21 last year, Salas launched a surprise attack on Moncriffe that had him on the canvas early, and the referee eventually stopped the fight. The pattern was the same last Wednesday night, but this time, it was not a surprise attack. It was Moncriffe who put on the mantle of being the aggressor, but he paid more attention to attack rather than defence. He was knocked down twice, and went out in explosive fashion.
Expectations were high that Moncriffe, who is 41 and won the title in 2013, would produce a vintage performance. He had trained hard, proclaimed that he was in great condition and showed skill and punching power in getting to the semis.
Salas made him look ordinary, however, and based on the crowd reaction to his victory and the buzz that went around the auditorium afterwards, he is being seen as the favourite to win the title and the main prize money of $2 million. Moncriffe will take home the third prize of $250, 000 if Salas wins, but if Holmes wins, it will go to Leblond. The prize money for fourth place is $200,000.
Moncriffe admitted after Wednesday's fight that he left himself wide open while trying to attack his opponent.
He paid tribute to his opponent, who he conceded "really has great punching power". Salas, through his interpreter, said that he was very confident of victory and had no fear of his opponent.
"I set out to do exactly what I did in Canada - knock him out - and was successful," Salas said.