Thank you, Orlando ‘Siri’ Salido

Junior lightweight Miguel Roman (Left) vs. Orlando Salido. Photo credit: Ed Mulholland/HBO Boxing

 

Tough and clearly motivated veteran Miguel “Mickey” Roman, 58-12 (45), stopped four-time world champion Orlando “Siri” Salido, 44-14-4 (31), in the ninth round of a scheduled 10-round junior lightweight bout (contested at 131 pounds), on Saturday night, at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada.

 

With the win, Roman may have slotted himself into a world title shot, something Salido was hoping to do if he could light the fires for another great performance and come away with the win.

 

Despite being only 37 years of age, Salido is old in boxing years. He turned pro as a teenager and has had a long, grueling career. And last Saturday night, the bill for going into one war after another came due.

 

Once again, Salido found himself in another all-action slugfest, much to the delight of the crowd. While the perennial warrior did come up with another gut-check performance in an exciting fight, one more victory was not to be on this night.

 

Neither fighter wasted any time with a feeling-out process and both dug their heels in and got down to it from the opening bell. There were numerous back-and-forth exchanges and both fighters were landing serious shots to both the head and body.

 

A nice one-two from Roman, that resulted in a badly busted lip, dropped Salido in round four. The two fighters went toe-to-toe throughout rounds five through eight. However, the constant pressure from Roman saw him drop Salido for a second time in the eighth round.

 

Round nine saw Roman bring more of the same heat, dropping Siri for the third time and then finishing him off a little over halfway through the round.

 

As referee Robert Byrd waved off the fight, Salido sat on the canvas looking like a guy who simply had the fight beaten out of him that evening. And if you were going to beat Salido, that is exactly how you would have to get the win because, even after all the years and all these wars, he wasn’t giving it away. You’d have to take it.

 

Simply put, despite the loss, it was another great action fight to punctuate the phenomenal career of Orlando Salido.

 

After the bout, Salido, always classy and gracious, win or lose, said he was done, that he was walking away and that is probably for the best. Reports are he has handled his money well, is financially stable and he doesn’t need to keep fighting.

 

Many fighters say they are retiring in the heat of the moment, when emotions are running high, only to return but, in this case, I believe Salido will stay retired, as he has nothing left to prove in a career that has seen him compete against and beat some of the very best in the world.

 

Siri can walk away now and look back, with pride, on a fantastic career.

 

After the bout, ringside analyst and former world light heavyweight champion, Andre Ward said that, in the pre-bout fighter meetings, Salido looked tired.

 

“He was saying all the right things,” said Ward, “he had the best camp of his career, etc. But he looked like a fighter that had so many wars under his belt and it showed, when he spoke, just the look in his eyes. He looked like a tired fighter.”

 

Maybe that is the case. Salido has clocked into work, in the toughest of professions, for decades and, on Saturday night, his mind and heart were willing but his body just wasn’t responding.

 

“As they say, Father Time is undefeated,” said Salido. “All the wars had caught up with me tonight. I am leaving the ring knowing that I gave the fans as great a fight that I can give them. I hope they enjoyed it. The mind and heart were there but my body just was not responding. Roman is a young fighter who gave his all and I was not able to keep up with him. I’m just an old fighter now. I’ve beaten young fighters before but, this time, it was a matter of age. Time takes its toll and obviously I just couldn’t do it. This was my last fight. Thank you to all, to those who will remember me for all the great fights that I had and to the people who have followed me.”

 

Right after the bout, HBO analyst Max Kellerman seemed somewhat in awe of yet another war he had once again witnessed, featuring Salido.

 

“Thank you for the career that gave us so many memories,” said Kellerman, “for all the great fights and for going so far in a career where you started out as an opponent and going on to becoming a great, great champion, a great action fighter.”

 

And Kellerman once again perfectly summed up Saturday’s bout and the character of Orlando Salido.

 

“A terrific, back-and-forth action fight”, said Kellerman. “Another ‘Fight of the Year’-type fight. Why would we expect anything else from Orlando Salido?”

 

Thank you, Orlando. Go enjoy your retirement; you have more than earned it.

 

Viva Siri!!

 

 

The Championship Rounds

 

*Across the country, in New York City, in the anti-Salido performance category, Guillermo Rigondeaux quit after six rounds, when he claimed he hurt his hand. Credit to WBO junior lightweight titlist Vasyl Lomachenko, who put in another masterful performance. “Hi-Tech” simply overwhelmed Rigondeaux with speed and dazzling combinations coming from awkward angles that seemed to completely befuddle and stymie any offensive attack by Rigondeaux. But when faced with the first sign of adversary, in the biggest fight of his career, “El Chacal” chose to quit. Weak!

 

*Nice debut performance by Ireland’s Aaron McKenna in Las Vegas on the Roman-Salido undercard. He was making his pro debut in Vegas, after originally being scheduled to fight in New York, a week ago, before his opponent fell out. So it was a crazy week for a fighter making his debut but the young Monaghan, Ireland fighter handled it all. Aaron “Silencer” McKenna moves to 1-0 with a unanimous decision over junior middleweight Travis Conley, 1-1 (1). McKenna dominated on all the cards, going 40-36 across the board. Keep en eye on this kid.

 

*Happy Birthday to Top Rank CEO Bob Arum on December 8, 86 years young!

 

 

 

Questions and comments can be sent to Bill Tibbs at hwtibbs@shaw.ca and you can follow him at twitter.com/tibbs_bill.

 

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