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Orlando Salido


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A man whose greatest successes came late in his career, Salido fought between 1996 and 2017, his career spanning 21 years and he fought every one of those years except 1999. This tough as nails Mexican featherweight and later super featherweight came on the wrong end of several decisions, decisions which he deserved to get but didn't. However, one of those he did get was the one few expected him to get-over Vasyl Lomachenko, back then an Olympic champion and amateur sensation who was trying to make history. Salido was a fighter who was a typical come forward aggression fighter, known for his chin, heart, stamina and strength. He also hit hard and could box clever when needed. Another great upset was over the undefeated Juanma Lopez in 2011, whom he stopped then and once again the next year. Those three wins are definitely his greatest ever. But there is much more to his story than that. Let's go.


Born Orlando Salido Rivera on 16 November 1980 in Ciudad Obregon, Sonora, Mexico, Salido embarked on a pro career at the age of 15, having his first fight on 1 March 1996 in Mexicali, Mexico and losing by a TKO4 to Ivan Cazarez. After winning his next 4 fights, he again lost to the same man, this time on points. He was then stopped by Hector Guzman by a TKO3. In August 1997, he managed to win the Sonora super bantam title by a TKO5 against Ernesto Medina, a weak fighter. He would get stopped in his next two fights, before taking some time off from boxing in 1999. After winning his first comeback fight, he was again stopped by Ivan Valle by a KO4. His first fight in USA was against William Abelyan of Armenia, 23 March 2001 in Owensboro. He lost by UD6. He then drew his next fight before he started winning. He relocated to Phoenix, Arizona eventually. His first notable victory came over the washed up former WBO super feather champion Regilio Tuur of Netherlands, 23 November in New York. It was a competitive fight but Salido scored a knockdown in the 8th and last round to secure a victory by split decision. At the end of the year, 2 December, he got a fight against former WBC feather champion Alejandro Gonzalez, who he used to spar with. Even tho Salido by all accounts deserved to win, the more famous Gonzalez was awarded a majority decision. Next year on 22 March, he scored a very good victory over the 17-0-1 Lamont Pearson, taking the fight on 1 weeks notice and he pounded Pearson into a unanimous defeat in front of his new home fans in Phoenix. He then reeled off 8 more victories, among them a UD10 over Alfred Kotey, former bantam world champion. He was then finally given a world title fight-not just for one, but two titles, WBA and IBF ones, both held by the new star in the division and a fellow Mexican-Juan "Dinamita" Manuel Marquez! The fight was set for 18 September 2004 in Vegas, MGM Grand, but Salido must've been too intimidated or nervous at first, so he started the fight too passively, giving away too many rounds. He then started doing better and closed strong, but it was not enough, for he lost by a clear unanimous decision. Marquez' counterpunching clearly gave him the victory, but Salido at least lasted the distance and in the end gave a good account of himself against the star.


In his very next fight, he beat the former WBC feather champion Cesar Soto, another Mexican, on points in 10 rounds and then in March 2006 he stopped Rogers Mtagwa by a TKO5 in an IBF-eliminator. He then faced the reigning IBF-champ Robert Guerrero, who was rated highly as a clever technician who could also hit. The fight was held on 4 November at Mandalay Bay in Vegas and Salido surprised everyone by outworking the champion and winning by a UD, with a clear margin on two scorecards. However, his triumph was ruined after he tested positive for nandrolone. Therefore, he was stripped of the title. However, after taking another blood test, it came back negative. Still, the IBF ignored this and refused to reinstall him as champion. The fight was promoted by Goosen Tutor, Guerrero's promotion company, that might be a clue to why this happened. After another disappointment, Salido went back to the gym and came back next year in July, stopping the future top contender Robinson Castellanos by TKO2. In December that year, he won another IBF-eliminator, this time against Hector Julio Avila by TKO6. He finally got to fight for the vacant IBF title against Cristobal Cruz, 23 October 2008 in Airway Heights, Washington. Salido was clearly better in the first half, but Cruz came back strong in the second, to snatch the title by a split decision. Still, many observers felt Salido had done enough to earn the decision. Because of this, he was given a rematch on 15 May 2010, this time in his hometown of Ciudad Obregon. Salido avenged the unfair loss when he put Cruz down twice in the second round and dominated most of the fight, in the end winning by 116-110 and 117-109 twice to FINALLY lift the world belt and keep it longer than a few days! Already in his next fight, he was offered a world title unification fight against the new star, Yuriorkis Gamboa of Cuba. He took it and fought him 11 September in Vegas. The faster and smaller Gamboa controlled the early rounds while Salido was best in the middle ones, also dropping Gamboa in round 8, before Gamboa mounted a comeback and dropped Salido in round 12. He then hit him while he was down and lost 2 points for it. Gamboa still won in the end with the scores of 116-109, 114-109 and 115-109. That meant that Salido was once again without a belt, after only 4 months, or slightly less. However, that wouldn't last too long. He was then offered a fight against the other great star in the division: Juan Manuel Lopez aka JuanMa. Lopez was 30-0 and 27 of those wins were by ko. He was in other words a very hard puncher and a great offensive fighter. However, some meant he had a chink in his armour-weak defense. Salido would be the first to expose that. They fought at JuanMa's turf in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, 16 April 2011. After four competitive rounds, Salido shocked everyone by knocking down JuanMa and hard at the end of the fifth with a left hook-right cross combination. JuanMa survived an attack by Salido in the next round and came back in the seventh, but after Salido launched another attack in the eight, the referee Robert Ramirez jr stopped it, despite JuanMa still on his feet and fighting back. It provoked so much anger among the audience that the referee had to be escorted out. All scorecards were dead even at 66-66.


With that, Salido had won the WBO title and he first defended it by knocking out Kenichi Yamaguchi in 11 rounds, 3 months later, 23 July, in Ciudad Obregon. After stopping Weng Haya in 8 after first being down twice, he rematched JuanMa, this time in San Juan, PR, on 10 March 2012. This time, JuanMa did better, but still not good enough. He scored a knockdown in round 5 after Salido first wobbled him but was caught by a counter right hand and put down. In the ninth, both went toe-to-toe and threw about 200 punches combined! In the tenth, Salido landed a three-punch combination which put Lopez down. Although he made the count, he was on wobby legs and the referee waved it off. Since the ref was the father of the guy who had refereed their first match, Lopez accused him of unfairly stopping the fight because of a gambling problem. Salido was now on top of the world and his division. However, there was a new kid on the block-Mikey Garcia. He proved to be too much for the older man by 7 years when they fought on 19 January 2013 at Madison SG. Salido was down twice in the first round and once in the third and fourth, but came back into the fight later, only to cut Garcia on the nose with his head in roound 8 and the fight had to be stopped. Naturally, Garcia won on points. After Garcia vacated the title to move up to 130, Salido again got the chance to win it against Orlando Cruz, the first openly gay boxer to fight for a world title. Salido dominated and knocked out Cruz in round 7 to become a three time (or four-time, if you count the Guerrero-win) world champion, on 12 October same year. And then, finally, came that Lomachenko fight. Lomachenko was trying to make history by winning a world title in his second pro fight and was promoted by Bob Arum. Salido however was unable to make the weight and came in weighing 3 pounds heavier than Lomachenko, 3 and a half pounds over the limit. This naturally meant he had to forfeit his title, which was now on the line only for Lomachenko. The fight happened on 1 March 2014 at the Alamodrome in San Antonio and Lomachenko did well early on, but he seemed to struggle with Salido's body work and also perhaps him being heavier. Salido also threw a number of low blows, but he also did well in the fight, outworking the Ukrainian amateur star in many rounds and landing some potent punches to body and head, especially in round 10. Lomachenko finally found his mojo in round 12 and caught Salido with a straight left to the head which wobbled him seriously, but he held on and recovered before the final bell. In the end, the result that nobody but Salido fans wanted to hear was heard: Salido was victorious by a split decision. He thus became the first and so far one of only two fighters to defeat Lomachenko in the pros, and altogether one of only three to defeat him. On 20 September that year, he won his fifth world title, a WBO super feather one, by stopping Terdsak Jandaeng by a KO11 in a great action fight. Salido was down three times and Jandaeng four, once again it was a three-punch combination that did the trick for Salido.


He surprisingly lost the title in his first defense against Roman "Rocky" Martinez, again fighting away in Puerto Rico against a home favorite, 11 April 2015. Salido was knocked down in rounds 3 and 5 and lost a point for low blows in round 11, but otherwise the fight was hard and competitive. He lost by a UD. They had a rematch on 12 September, this time at MGM Grand, and this time Salido was the better man, yet was denied his victory and instead had to settle with a draw. He threw no less than 1037 punches. Next year he fought against the new WBC champion Francisco Vargas, a taller fighter who could box, 4 June in Carson, California. Once again the fight was a slugfest and Salido pressed the action, but in the end got denied the victory in a draw. He was pretty much a spent force by now. There were talks of him fighting Lomachenko again in 2017, but it didn't materialise and Salido instead fought at 135 against Aristides Perez, stopping him by a corner retirement in 7. His last fight happened on 9 December same year, when he was stopped for the first time in 17 years by Miguel Roman, who put him down three times before stopping him by a TKO 9. Salido's best round was the first, when he hurt Roman badly with a right hand, but the rest of the fight was pretty much all Roman. Salido announced his retirement after the fight, but then changed his mind a few days later. However, by August 2019, he again chose to retire and has remained retired so far. His record is 44 wins with 31 ko's, 14 losses and 1 draw. Salido was just a pure blood and guts warrior who didn't always get his due but always fought the best fighters available. His victory over Lomachenko is still disputed by some, but nevertheless, Salido was the first to prove Lomachenko was not unbeatable, like with JuanMa. Thank you.

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