Entries in Orlando Salido (15)
By Kieran Mulvaney
Photo: Will Hart
There has, over the last several weeks and months, been much touting of Vasyl Lomachenko as the future of boxing, and he may yet prove to be; but on Saturday night in San Antonio, the much-decorated amateur found that experience in the professional ranks is not something to be taken lightly, as he dropped a split decision to Orlando Salido in the co-main event on World Championship Boxing.
Of course, Salido (41-12-2, 28 KOs) is not new to the role of spoiler: his two stoppage victories over Juan Manuel Lopez in 2011 and 2012 effectively ended the Puerto Rican’s career as a top-flight fighter. And there were plenty who wondered whether, no matter how skilled he might be, Lomachenko (1-1, 1 KO) was biting off more than he could chew by taking on such an experienced champion in just his second professional fight.
The first round gave little indication either way, as the two men looked at each other, Salido circling away as Lomachenko feinted and stalked; but over the next several frames, the Mexican veteran began to give his young challenger a lesson in the realities of professional prizefighting, as he walked him down and worked him hard with looping punches to the ribcage and kidneys – and, on more than a few occasions, parts of the anatomy where legal blows are not supposed to land, but for which he went repeatedly unpunished by referee Laurence Cole.
Lomachenko began to find his groove in the fifth, firing off two-and-three-punch combinations and pivoting away as Salido came forward, but those punches had little effect on an opponent who failed to make weight and on fight night unofficially weighed 147 pounds - 11 more than Lomachenko.
Yet every time Lomachenko seemed to be building a head of steam, Salido would come back, swarming him, throwing punch after punch, looking to land everywhere he could. After ten, it began to seem that the Ukrainian challenger had let his chance slip away, but he came out for the eleventh with a new sense of purpose, rattling Salido with combinations and then, finally, in the twelfth, hurting him badly with a right hand to the head and one to the body. With more than a minute remaining, Salido was in desperate trouble, but he clung to Lomachenko for dear life, forcing the two-time Olympic gold medalist to rip his hands free and resume his assault.
Salido survived, but only just. Lomachenko’s charge was too little, too late, as Salido won a split decision by scores of 113-115, 115-113 and 116-112.
Lomachenko was philosophical in defeat.
“I did my best. It didn’t work out. I’ve got to go home and review the tape,” he said.
“He’s very smart, he has good movement,” said Salido of his fallen foe. “I knew I had to keep throwing punches. I tried to land all the punches I could. In my opinion, my experience was the difference.”
By Kieran Mulvaey
Photo Credit: Will Hart (Click image for full slideshow)
There have been times when Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. gives the impression that he regards weight limits as not so much fixed and mandatory as approximate and even aspirational – and on no occasion was this more evident than his first meeting with Brian Vera, for which the contracted limit had to be changed to accommodate Chavez’s waistline. (Chavez, of course, has that kind of pull because he is the Son of the Legend, whereas Vera is merely Mr. and Mrs. Vera’s baby boy.)
But the fallout from that debacle provided him with plenty of motivation to do better this time – not in the form of the opprobrium directed his way by fans and media, but in a $250,000 portion that he would be obliged to forfeit if he missed weight again (which would make Mr. and Mrs. Vera’s baby boy a much richer man).
And when Chavez stepped on the scales outside the Alamodome on a sunny Friday afternoon, it was immediately clear that this time around, he means business. He weighed in the same as his opponent – 167.5 lbs., one half-pound inside the super-middleweight limit – and behind him, one of his team waved an oversize check, made out to Vera, for $250,000 but emblazoned with the word ‘Void.’
One of the boxers on Saturday’s HBO World Championship Boxing telecast did miss weight, however: Orlando Salido, who forfeited his featherweight title when he tipped the scales at 128.25 lbs., two and a quarter pounds heavy. His challenger, Vasyl Lomachenko, was fully three pounds lighter. As a result, Lomachenko – who pocketed an extra $15,000 from the comparatively corpulent Salido – remains on course to make history and become a world champion in only his second professional fight; but even if he wins, Salido will not exit the ring with the belt wrapped around his waist.
HBO Boxing's Kieran Mulvaney goes one-on-one with Orlando Salido as he prepares for his undercard bout against Vasyl Lomachenko, Saturday at 9:45pm ET/PT: