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Salido: a "Siri"-ous Roadblock for Garcia

By Gabriel Monyoya
Orlando Salido
Photo © Chris Farina Top / Rank


Despite twin wins over Puerto Rican star Juan Manuel Lopez, WBO featherweight titlist Orlando “Siri” Salido, 39-11-2 (27), is a champion in search of a marquee to call his own. The 32-year-old traveled to the island to wrest the belt from Lopez in April of 2011 and returned to seal the deal in a brutal “Fight of the Year” candidate that saw Salido rise from the deck in the fifth to stop Lopez for a second time in the 10th. But Orlando Salido is not a star-in-the-making. He’s a hardnosed battler from Ciudad Obregon, Sonora, Mexico who doesn’t speak English and somehow keeps upsetting the apple cart. Tomorrow night (in the Theater at Madison Square Garden, HBO, 9:45 p.m., ET/PT), Salido’s is the middle fight of an excellent card featuring a main event between WBA middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin and Gabriel Rosado and a throwdown between J.C. Burgos and Rocky Martinez. “Siri’s” opponent is Top Rank-promoted Mikey Garcia, 30-0 (26), the 25-year-old brother of trainer Robert Garcia of Oxnard’s Robert Garcia Boxing Academy. Garcia has earned the shot but what is truly in contention here is who the A-side actually is.


“I definitely can see Mikey is getting the push,” Salido told leaveitintheringradio.com. “He is young and undefeated. Good technician with a good punch fighter. They are basically looking at him to be the next star. I definitely feel like it’s a fight where the young guy is being pushed.”
 
Salido is certainly being given opportunities to defend his belt at a high level while staying busy throughout the year in less than major cable affairs. However, he is still the B-side. That said, what matters most to Salido is the fans’ approval.
 
“In my opinion, I think I am getting the respect from the fans. I feel everyone knows my career path trajectory. And they know what I have gone through to become the champion that I am now,” he said.
 
Just the same, TV is king and Mikey Garcia is the man being groomed for success for years to come. “Siri” is supposed to be the guy made-to-order for the superstars-in-training to feast on. Salido understands he has to work a little harder than the star in training.
 
“I am the champion. I feel since they are giving Mikey a good push and they are pushing Mikey as the next superstar, I feel I have to pressure from the start to make sure I get my due,” Salido explained. This is not to say had he been top-billed and treated like a king, he would finesse it up in there like Floyd Mayweather Jr. and shoulder roll all of sudden. Salido is a hard man who is going to test Garcia every step of the way.
 
What this fight represents is the top ranked contender, Mikey Garcia, making his first move to be a titleholder. Salido is behaving like a champion. He vanquished Lopez twice while staying busy and defending the belt. Now Salido is heading into a lion’s den of sorts to take on the most qualified available young challenger at 126 pounds. He has the confidence of a man who has not lost by stoppage - much less at all in five fights - since 2010.
 
“I have rededicated myself,” explained Salido. “I do more in training. I do more road work. I do additional training. I am definitely focused more. At this point in my career, I am more focused in what I do in every fight.”
 
Few, if any, promoter makes matches like Top Rank. Salido is a classic, hardworking, Mexican fighter with an odd-angled accurate looping right hand that sneaks up on you and a body attack that will wilt you to your core. He has a swarming attack that pushes the pace and breaks you down slowly from the ribs on up.
 
Garcia is a lanky 5’6” with a 70” reach, a right-handed counterpuncher who likes to bide his time like a sniper before firing off with dead-eye accuracy bombs, taking off heads until he hits about 135 pounds. But that patience could lead to being overwhelmed by the swarming attack of Salido. If he waits too long with a guy who rolls downhill like “Siri,” there might not be any later rounds to warm up to.
 
“If Mikey Garcia wants to be a champion, he has to change that game plan,” warned Salido. “He definitely has to start pitching more. He is going to have to be more aggressive from the start. The patience is not going to work with me. What I am going to be doing is smart pressure from the start. He has to be ready for that.”
 
Inexperienced but qualified youth vs. a lion not quite in winter making one last run at the throne. The loser won’t go away easily in this fight. If the winner isn’t the champion at featherweight, who is?
 
Orlando Salido has fought hard to get to this point and he has fought often. Down to the canvas in Puerto Rico in a rematch he had to win to keep paydays like this one going, Salido responded like the champion Garcia is hoping to become. For both men, glory lies in only one direction and it’s just beyond the man in the opposite corner.
 
“I see this as a pretty even fight,” said Salido. “Mikey Garcia is an undefeated, great, counterpuncher type of fighter. He has fought a decent level of opposition. The type of fighter that he has fought is completely different than what I have fought. The type of pressure that I will put on him in round one is going to be something that Mikey is unprepared for.”


You can email Gabriel at maxgmontoya@gmail.com, follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/gabriel_montoya and catch him every Monday on “The Next Round” with Steve Kim. You can also tune in to hear him and co-host David Duenez live on the BlogTalk radio show Leave-It-In-The-Ring.com, Thursdays at 5-8 p.m., PST.

 
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