Mexico’s former two-time featherweight beltholder Orlando Salido vows to continue his dominance of Puerto Rican rivals when he fights Orlando Cruz for the vacant WBO title on the Oct. 12 undercard of the Tim Bradley–Juan Manuel Marquez card on HBO Pay Per View at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
A 32-year-old, Salido (39-12-2, 27 knockouts) is attempting to rebound after being dropped four times during January’s eight-round technical decision loss to Miguel Angel “Mikey” Garcia, ending Salido’s winning streak of five straight knockouts.
Salido’s run had included two knockouts of Puerto Rican ex-beltholder Juan Manuel Lopez, who, like Cruz (20-2-1, 10 KOs), is a left hander.
“It’s important to take this victory home,” said Salido, who had gone 16-2 with 12 stoppage wins and a no-contest over 19 bouts before falling to Garcia. “The rivalry between Mexico and Puerto Rico is always special, and a victory over a Puerto Rican is always special and it’s always great for Mexico.”
Among the Puerto Rican fighters Salido has vanquished are Lopez, Carlos Gerena by majority decision in 2002, and Omar Adorno by fourth-round stoppage in 2004.
“I think about what I’ve done against Puerto Rican fighters. I want to [remain undefeated against them.] I just think I know how to fight them. Orlando is a very good boxer and knows how to move around the ring,” said Salido, who added that Cruz and Garcia “totally different fighters.”
“My job is to put pressure on him, cut the ring off and make him fight. I’ll be throwing punches and making sure that I hit him somewhere. He will eventually slow down and so will his legs. I’ll eventually make him fight my fight.”
Salido has lost by unanimous decision to Juan Manuel Marquez as a featherweight in September of 2004, and unbeaten former featherweight titleholder Yuriorkis Gamboa in September of 2010, and split bouts with former beltholder Cristobal Cruz.
The no-contest was an overturned triumph against Robert Guerrero in November of 2006. Initially awarded a unanimous decision, 115-113, 117-111, 118-110, over Guerrero, Salido was later stripped of the IBF’s 126-pound belt after testing positive for steroids.
“Without a doubt, I’ve been in there with some great champions. I’ve won some, I’ve lost some. The important thing is that all of the experience that left me with, being in with all of those great champions,” said Salido.
“I just feel that, for this fight, it’s whoever is better prepared. We’re both hungry, we both want it. But it’s just a question of who is going to be the best that night, and I think that I will be.”
Salido also said that he has recovered successfully after having suffered a broken right orbital bone during the loss to Garcia, their fight going to the scorecards after an accidental clash of heads in the eighth round resulted in a broken nose for Garcia.
“You know, that injury is in the past. I haven’t had any injuries during this training camp,” said Salido. “I’m just getting ready — mentally prepared, physically prepared for this fight with Orlando Cruz, and I’m just thinking about the fight.”
Photo by Chis Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com