By virtue of having the WBO featherweight belt (which is supposedly a worthless strap to the particularly quixotic members of the boxing media), Orlando Salido with his 12 professional losses, was hand-selected by Vasyl Lomachenko and his team as their dance partner in just their second official pro fight as they attempt to win a world title in record setting fashion. 'Siri' is by no means a great fighter, the only way he'll get into the International Boxing Hall of Fame is by buying a ticket to Canastota. But what he is is solid pro, a seasoned veteran of the sport who took a road less traveled from the dirt roads of Sonora, Mexico, to craft what has been a productive and colorful career.
(Our very own Bill 'Mr' Tibbs, wrote a very nice feature earlier this week on the life and times of Salido's inside the squared circle: maxboxing.com/Salido
that chronicled his rise from days as a 15-year old boxing apprentice to his unlikely reign as a world titlist).
In recent years, Salido has become one of the toughest outs in boxing, a gatekeeper that determines if you're the real article (Mikey Garcia) or just a over-hyped media creation (Juan Manuel Lopez). So just how insulting is it that a boxer with a mark of 1-0 has the temerity to face him?
"I understand why they're doing it," said Salido, through Top Rank publicist Ricardo Jimenez, a couple of days ago."I know he had a great amateur pedigree. I understand that and you can say he has one fight but he has a lot of experience in the amateurs. But to me, it's just a fighter in front of me. That's who the opponent is and I'll go after him."
Lomachenko had a legendary amateur run, one that saw him lose just once in nearly 400 contests and capture two Olympic gold medals. His trophy case is probably as big as a two-car garage. His management insisted to any prospective promoter that they be given a world title shot early on (actually as their pro debut but more reasonable minds prevailed on them to wait till at least the second fight).
When asked bout the Ukranian's skills, Salido admits,"I think he's a great talent, fast hands. He's got some ability, technique, but he'll have to eventually fight and that's when my advantage will come in." Conventional wisdom says that the foot-speed and mobility of Lomachenko will trouble the methodical Mexican. It will be in the second half of this fight where Salido will have to make up ground. "Everyone knows I grind it and that's what I'm going to have to do with this guy. Grind him the first few round, take him as deep as I can, then just take over."
But it's not clear just how much Salido has left in the tank coming into tonight given that he wasn't able to hit the 126-pound limit. The closest he came was a couple of pounds over and he said earlier in the week that at this juncture the toughest part of this gig was, "Just making 126. I've been in this division all my life and it's very difficult now to make 126 every time out. I honestly hope this is my last fight at 126." Salido turned out to be prescient.
Salido has been boxing professionally for 18 years of his 33 on this earth. Yes, he's been at THAT long and in recent fights versus Weng Haya, Lopez and Garcia, he's hit the deck. What was once experience in this game can easily become corrosion right in front of our eyes. But Sean Gibbons, who works in his camp says that Salido, at least from a psychological standpoint, is still full of piss and vinegar. "I think his mindset is very strong, mentally he hasn't been better in a long, long time. He's very calm, with his family, everything's going well and we talked about it a little and he looks at it like he'll fight anybody but it's disrespectful in a way that a guy with one guy is picking on him with his legacy, his body of work. He doesn't want to go around with his name being attached to the guy who in his second pro fight won a world title."
With the way the rules are set up, Salido has lost the title on the scale but Lomachenko is still eligible to win it.
Gibbons is a boxing veteran, he was taken aback by the hubris of their opponent.
"I'm still surprised, I'm trying to figure out and I've been in the game a good amount of years and I keep thinking and looking, 'What do they know that I don't know?' I'm like,'These guys are ultra-confident. They have no concern with Orlando. No respect for him.' Yeah, I was very surprised," he admitted. "But to Lomachenko's credit he feels he's had enough amateur fights. He's very confident in himself, unfortunately, Salido's going to break that confidence and I hope Top Rank's able to rebuild him -- which I think they will be able to -- but he'll realize that the pro's and the amateurs are different."
What Salido has going for him is a successful track record with southpaws and the ability to land his deceptive over-hand right against them. "Lefties have never been a problem for me," he explained. "Everyone I've faced, I've beaten so I don't see that as a problem. That's one of my biggest advantages. I know how to fight lefties.''
"What's that old saying from Mike Tyson?" asked Gibbons, rhetorically. "Everyone has a plan till I hit'em in the mouth. And that's what I think is going to happen here. He's got a great plan, he believes Salido's slow, Salido's not the quickest guy but he's sneaky-quick. He'll figure this out. He'll get his timing down and I think after about four rounds he'll be really turning up the gas."
While Salido didn't make weight, both Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Bryan Vera came in at 167.5 to make the super midldeweight limit...Also on this undercard at the Alamodome is Juan 'Baby Bull' Diaz and blue-chip prospect Oscar Valdez... The HBO broadcast begins tonight at 9:45 pm, ET......Here's the latest episode of 'the Next Round': http://www.blogtalkradio.com/episode-469
....It finally rained here in Southern California!!!....Is it already time for spring practice for the Hurricanes?.....
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