A well-rested Orlando Salido returns, eyes Vasyl Lomachenko

Photo credit: Tim Price/Associated Press


It’s been nearly a full year since the last time we saw the old warhorse Orlando Salido in the ring. In a truly memorable affair he went to battle over 12 rounds against fellow Mexican Francisco Vargas for his WBC 130-pound belt. When it was all said and done, Salido had written another memorable chapter in his storied career and won plaudits for being in another “Fight of the Year.”


Unfortunately, with the bout being ruled a draw, “Siri” wasn’t able to capture the WBC strap.


After this grueling affair Salido had an extended layoff from the ring. While he was scheduled to face Takashi Miura in December at The Forum on HBO, he pulled out of that assignment claiming a back injury. Regardless, he got some well-deserved R-and-R for the rest of 2016.


“Y’ know, it’s not only the last fight; it’s the last few fights I had. They were really tough and the Vargas fight was a 12-round war and look what happened to Vargas coming back from that fight,” explained Salido, through publicist Ricardo Jimenez, earlier this week. Back in late January, Vargas was stopped late by Miguel Berchelt in a fight in which the former champion looked weary and shopworn early on.


For Salido, the Vargas scrap was just one of a few memorable affairs that have taken their physical toll on the 36-year-old, who has, through sheer will and determination, crafted a memorable ledger, which includes a victory (albeit a tainted one) against current WBO super featherweight titlist Vasyl Lomachenko, two stoppages over Juan Manuel Lopez and, most recently, successive bouts against Terdsak Kokietgym and a pair of bouts against Rocky Martinez, back-and-forth battles remembered fondly by the hardcore fans, who have come to embrace this blue-collar, self-made fighter.


The Vargas encounter was perhaps his most grueling affair. Salido recalls, “That fight was just so tough from beginning to end and neither of us, both being Mexican, didn’t want to back down or give up and we went toe-to-toe for 12 rounds. It’s a fight that took a lot from both of us.”


Now he finally returns this Saturday night from Sonora, Mexico against Aristides Perez on a card that will be broadcast on beIN Sports Espanol, 51 weeks after the demolition derby versus Vargas. His adviser Sean Gibbons told UCNLive.com, “Normally, Orlando took anywhere between five-to-seven months between fights. It’s been a little longer after the wars with Rocky Martinez, the ‘Bandito’ Vargas fight and you saw what happened to Bandito when he came back early – he just got completely destroyed. So I think it was good for Orlando at this age.


“I was with him last night. He looks good; he looks fresh. Absolutely, I think (the layoff) really helped him.”


Salido, who, in his spare time, drove for Uber (wonder what Greg Haugen thinks about that), stated, “It’s been a long time since I had an easy fight. So yeah, I needed to rest, I needed to take it easy and let my body recuperate from the last couple of fights.”


Should he come out victorious and relatively unscathed this weekend, Salido could face Lomachenko again. To date, he’s just one of two men to ever have his hands raised in victory(amateur or pro) against the gifted Ukrainian. It’s this story line that intrigues Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, who promotes Lomachenko. “Here’s a guy who’s fought over 350 amateur fights, lost one, got his revenge about three or four times and now he’s lost one professional fight to Salido and he now wants to get his revenge.”


“I hope so,” said Salido, when asked about facing Lomachenko again. “That’s what I’m hoping for. There have been talks about it; people want to see it and right now it hasn’t been able to get done but I hope that it gets done.” Gibbons adds, “I’ve been told by Bob that he has everything in place. The finances are there to take care of Orlando and let’s make the fight people want to see.”


For Salido, this would perhaps be his gold watch fight, one last payday as he parlays his late-career resurgence. The reality is one of boxing’s true warriors only has a few more left in him.


“It’s really simple with Orlando: We take it one fight at a time. If you look at it, when he fought Terdsak Kokietgym, he looked like it was ‘Game over’ and that was three years ago but this guy always has a way to rise to a new level,” marveled Gibbons, who pointed out, “He’s 36 years old; he’s always taken care of himself. He’s not a drinker, doesn’t do the night life, so I think we should just look at it one fight at a time.”


The road less traveled for Salido has been one filled with potholes and roadblocks, yet he kept driving forward to become a fan-favorite of sorts. But the realization is he will soon head toward the off-ramp.


To this, Salido states, “I’ll find out in the ring how much I have left. Every fight is different; every fight can be tougher than you expect. But let’s see what happens Saturday and I’ll let you know how I feel. But right now, I feel great but let’s see what happens.”





  • So where would a possible Salido-Lomachenko rematch take place?


”I’m not sure,” said Arum, who is weighing his options. “It depends on the dates. It’ll either be in California; it could be in Nevada. Lomachenko’s people think there’s a big Ukrainian population in Chicago, so I just don’t know. Really it’s a little premature.”


  • It looks like Top Rank will push Felix Verdejo to face WBO lightweight titlist Terry Flanagan. Verdejo is Flanagan’s mandatory challenger. As for when this will take place, Arum told UCNLive.com, “In the summer, New York is the logical place if we can get the arena or ‘The Theater’ (at Madison Square Garden). But yeah, that would have an appeal in New York.”


  • Arum has been hushed on just whom will televise his marquee talent in the upcoming months. (Not even HBO knows what he’s really up to.) As for the Manny Pacquiao-Jeff Horn television component in the States, all Arum would/could say is, “We’ll have an announcement next week.”


  • Arum also indicated they are focusing in on IBF/WBC 140-pound titlist Julius Indongo as WBC/WBO champion Terence Crawford’s next opponent in the summer.





Here’s this week’s edition of “The Next Round” with Gabe Montoya and Yours Truly (a full two-hour edition).





Mario Lopez and I discuss boxing and anything else on our minds on “The 3 Knockdown Rule.”





Golden Boy Promotions has announced that the June 30 edition of “Golden Boy on ESPN” from the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino will have a main event between Randy Caballero and Oscar Negrete…Ryan “Blue Chip” Martin will also make an appearance on this card…Brandon Rios will face Aaron Herrera from Lancaster, California on FS1…The WBA has ordered immediate rematch between Hassan N’Dam and Ryoto Murata and suspended judges Gustavo Padilla and Hubert for six months…The WBA has also ordered a rematch between Rances Barthelemy and Kiryl Relikh…Hold on; ABC has announced that the Sept. 16 match-up between Miami and FSU is a prime time game?! Ahhh, geez; really? OK, can it please end before Gennady Golovkin and Saul Alvarez get into the ring?…Mike Trout is kinda good at baseball; isn’t he?…Is it just me or was TNT’s “Inside the NBA” much better with just Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson?…I can be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com and I tweet (a lot) at twitter.com/steveucnlive. I also share photos of stuff at instagram.com/steveucnlive and can also be found at tsu.co/steveucnlive.





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