After a super boxing career, Salida gives back to the community
By Bill Tibbs
Former world champion Orlando “Siri” Salido (44-14-4-1, 31 KO’s) continues to defy the odds and do things most people didn’t expect him to do.
Most people, in the early days, knew him as a hard scrabble kid who turned pro as a teenager and was looking to fight anyone and everyone who would bring him some much-needed dollars. Upon deciding to punch for pay, Salido was navigating the rough gauntlet of the Mexican club boxing circuit with little to guide him beyond some rudimentary skills, a decent chin, the will to win and some Mexico City sized Cojones.
The guy was tough and game but didn’t appear to have a whole lot more. But, he could fight a bit and would certainly serve in a role as a serviceable opponent to fighters in Mexico who may have a future on the international stage. Thus, 15 fights into his career he found himself sitting at pedestrian 8-6-1. To say he looked like just another tough, Mexican opponent would have been a spot-on description at this stage of his career.
However, Salido was made of nothing if not tough stuff. Over the next 25 fights, Orlando started to show a much-improved skill set and also was banking some great wins against the likes of former world champion Caesar Soto, world title challenger Rogers Mtagwa and a losing, but very impressive, effort against Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez. And, it was the effort against Marquez that convinced Orlando that he could indeed compete against boxing’s best.
This led to a world title shot against Robert Guerrero for the IBF featherweight title. Originally a win for Salido, the decision was reversed after a failed drug test that has been long denied as questionable and unreliable by long-time career advisor Sean Gibbons.
Undeterred, Salido worked his way to a world title win (in very Marvin Hagler-esque fashion, 48 fights and 14 years after he turned pro) in May of 2010. The rough and ready scrapper from Sonora, Mexico, sporting 10 losses on his ledger, was now the IBF featherweight champion of the world.
What followed was more world titles including WBO featherweight title runs in 2011 and 2013 and the WBO junior lightweight title in 2014. In Salido’s last world title shot he came within a hair (in a fight many felt he won) in draw with then champion Francisco Vargas for the WBC super featherweight title. His run also included fights against the likes of Yuriorkis Gamboa, Juan Manuel Lopez, Mikey Garcia and Roman Martinez.
Oh, and in case you are wondering who owns the one win over universally recognized P4P champion, Vasyl Lomachenko? That would be Salido; he hung a loss on Vasyl in the Ukraine legends second bout.
To say Salido is an overachiever would be a gross understatement. He took what talent he had, improved on it, and along with incredible heart and will became a highly respected, multiple world champion.
However, it doesn’t stop there. Since retiring in 2017, Salido has emerged as a real leader in his home of Obregon, Mexico, namely in his community of Ciudad. Salido was approached to consider doing some work with the locals in a political support role as he was well known and highly respected for his achievements in boxing-crazed Mexico. Unsure as to what the role would entail, Salido, always looking to give back to his community, decided to get involved.
He now has really started to gain some ground as a prominent political figure in his hometown. While Salido maintains a residence in Arizona, it’s Mexico that will always be home, and near and dear to his heart. While Salido was working in a variety of civic roles for the residents of his hometown, the current world pandemic has seen the iron-tough slugger step up and start fighting once again for his people.
Salido has been visiting many of the residents in the desperately poor communities in his hometown and delivering aid, food, water and other essential supplies.
Speaking over the phone from Las Vegas, Sean Gibbons, on his way to the rented home of another of his clients, WBO bantamweight champion John Riel Casimero, (in heavy training preparing for a proposed later summer showdown with Japanese star Nayoya Inoue), was delighted to speak about his former champion Salido.
“Brother Orlando is doing fantastic, post-boxing” said Gibbons, whom expertly guided Salido through much of his career. “All those rough, tough, impoverished neighborhoods that he is going into, to help those people, he can relate to them Billy”, he said. “Believe me on that. Orlando earned every dime he made in boxing, he made his belts and bucks the old-fashioned way, through hard work. Nobody gave that guy anything, he earned it. He came from the rough side of town to put it mildly”.
Asked how Salido ended up in politics, Gibbons said that he kind of fell into it but has really taken to the new role.
“He was approached about maybe getting involved with a role there in politics and he, understandably, wasn’t sure what that would look like. But, he embraced it and has really stepped up for the people that are so needy. Those are his people Billy; he relates to them. He grew up in those same impoverished neighborhoods, he knows the poverty they live, he can relate to them. He feels for them and knows their struggles. You talk about a man-of-the-people - he is it”.
Salido, who is playing out to be one of boxing’s success stories, and the epitome of success earned through hard work and determination, has set himself up with some great real estate investments in houses and apartment complexes.
“I’m not surprised that Orlando is doing what he is doing for people from Mexico that really need it” said Gibbons. “He relates to them and is thrilled to help them in any way he can. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Salido move on to some big positions in politics in Obregon, he has embraced the role and he is driven. He is smart and he is careful. He has been very good with his money and has made some great investments. He feels he is in a position to help people and he wants to. This is a good man Billy, Viva Salido, brother Orlando is a champion in and out of the ring”.