In October, Salido (40-12-2, 28 knockouts), 33, won the WBO's vacant featherweight belt by stopping Orlando Cruz in seven rounds to become a titleholder for the third time in his career.
On the undercard of Salido-Cruz, Lomachenko won what was billed as his pro debut by fourth-round stoppage against Jose Luis Ramirez, scoring knockdowns with body shots in the first and final rounds.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist, who turns 26 on Monday, hopes to make history by dethroning Salido in what is purportedly his second pro fight when they meet at The Alamodome in San Antonio on the undercard of a rematch between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Bryan Vera.
According to Fight Fax Inc., boxing's official record keeper, Lomachenko is actually 7-0 because he was paid to take part in six World Series of Boxing fights.
"I know people expect Lomachenko to beat me and take my title away," said Salido, in a prepared statement provided by promoter Top Rank. "While I respect all he did as an amateur, professional boxing is not the same. He has had just one professional fight."
With the win over Cruz, Salido rebounded from an eighth-round technical decision loss to Mikey Garcia in January of 2013, ending a run of five straight knockout victories that included two stoppages against ex-titleholder Juan Manuel Lopez.
He also initially won a unanimous decision over Robert Guerrero in 2006, but was later stripped of the IBF’s 126-pound belt after testing positive for steroids.
"My experience, strength and hunger will be the difference. Lomachenko has quick hands and is very fast, but he still has an amateur style that can be exploited," said Salido. "That is what I am going to do on March 1 in San Antonio. This fight is as big as any I had in my career, and look forward to the challenge."
DONALD CURRY ADVOCATES FREE INSTRUCTION FOR AMATEUR BOXERS IN TEXAS
Former two-division champion Donald Curry is hoping to begin a free amateur boxing program in Texas, designed to benefit at-risk youth. Although the program is in its early stages, Curry said that his target date is Feb. 26.
In attempt to maximize interest, associated organizer Starr Johnson said that Curry, a 51-year-old native of Fort Worth whose nickname was "Lone Star," will be present during the Golden Gloves Tournaments that will commence next week.
"There are a lot of amateurs working with him in the gym right now. It's Golden Gloves time, and with Donald having been one of the most decorated amateurs really in the history of amateurs sports, and in Texas, especially. We're going to bring Don down and sort of let him be the face of it and get it kicked off, " said Johnson of Curry, who was denied an opportunity to compete in the Olympics due to the U.S. boycott in 1980.
"We'll start working with the amateur programs. We'll be going to Tampa, Fla., this weekend for a professional show, and Don will be in Houston to … present the Lone Star amateur program here, and it's going to be free for anybody who wants to learn how to box, predominantly to keep kids off of the streets. That's the platform — Don will be doing hands-on coaching with the fighters. We''re still kicking around ideas, but it will predominantly a kids' program."
Depending on its success, Curry's dream is to expand his program state-wide, if not nationally.
"When I was growing up, and when I was in the game, you had the structure and the discipline from the amateur programs. But the amateur programs are not producing the fighters that they once did when I was an amateur. You used to have fighters from every state, maybe two or three guys," said Curry.
"You were always in a very competitive situation. You've got to go back to the amateurs in order to breed the good professionals. That's why, as a professional, you had so many good fighters throughout the division back then. You had guys who came into the professional game with structure from their amateur background. There is a real need for that right now."
Photo: Peter Amador-Top Rank