In April, Orlando Salido of Mexico traveled to Bayamon, Puerto Rico, where his sensational eighth-round knockout dethroned Juan Manuel Lopez as WBO featherweight titleholder before Lopez’s hometown fans at Coliseo Ruben Rodriguez.
Not only did the triumph derai the plans of Lopez (31-1, 28 knockouts) to face Cuban Olympic gold medalist Yuriorkis Gamboa in a clash of unbeaten fighters, but it simultaneously helped Salido (37-11-2, 25 KOs) to rebound from a unanimous decision loss to Gamboa in November of 2010.
On Tuesday, Salido was back in Puerto Rico, this time alongside Lopez at a press conference in San Juan to announce their Showtime-televised rematch on March 10 at Roberto Clemente Coliseum.
“I expect a very different fight. I know he will be better then last time. I want to show that my first win was not a fluke,” said Salido, who will pursue his third straight knockout in as many consecutive victories.
“I came back to fight in Puerto Rico because he gave the opportunity to fight (for a) world championship here and I have never had any problem winning in opponents’ home base.”
Salido has vanquished Japan’s Kenichi Yamaguchi and the Philippines’ Weng Haya in the 11th and eighth rounds of his past two bouts in July and December.
Salido dropped Yamaguchi once in the third round, rose from knockdowns in the third and fourth against Haya, who was on the canvas in the eighth. Yamaguchi had gone 13-0-1 in his previous 14 fights.
But Lopez has plans to get even with his conqueror.
“This fight is the most Important of my carreer,” said Lopez. “I will train very hard to regain my title.”
Lopez is coming off October’s second-round knockout of Mike Oliver, flooring him twice in the first round and once in the second, ending Oliver’s winning streak at four fights in Bayamon.
“I am very happy to have the oportunity to fight in the Roberto Clemente Coliseum where my idol Tito Trinidad had so many fights and this is a dream come tru for me,” said Lopez.
“I want to thank Salido for coming back to Puerto Rico and giving this opportunity. I knew Salido was a tough fighter and he came prepare and beat me and he did no excuses.”
Photos by Chris Farina, Top Rank Inc.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com