SAN DIEGO, June 3, 2016 – When Saturday’s matchup between veteran Mexican warrior Orlando Salido and WBC super featherweight champion Francisco Vargas was announced in March, the boxing world’s unanimous reaction was a loud shout of sheer glee.
If there was ever a sure thing in boxing, matching these offense minded opponents missing the world “quit” in their vocabulary is it. Put them in the ring under the Southern California sky at the Stub Hub Center on a warm Saturday night, and Friday night is the equivalent of Christmas Eve for fans.
HBO’s “Boxing After Dark” features Salido vs. Vargas in the main event on Saturday, June 4, at 10:30 pm ET/7:30 pm PT with a solid undercard as a bonus.
Vargas (23-0-1, 17 KOs) won the consensus 2015 Fight of the Year against Japanese champion Takashi Miura last November on the Cotto vs. Canelo undercard. It was an all–action, thrill a minute fight resembling a nonstop tennis rally. Vargas started strong with an early knockdown of Miura, who survived, then dropped Vargas for the first time in his boxing career in the fourth round. Miura hurt Vargas againt at the end of the eighth round. Vargas came back from the brink and put Miura face down on the canvas in the ninth round. Miura bounced up, but had no legs and it was a matter of time before the fight would be stopped, giving Vargas the WBC super featherweight title. See video of Vargas vs. Miura here.
A few weeks earlier, Salido (42-13-3, 29 KOs) blasted opponent Roman “Rocky” Martinez with 1,037 wicked punches in 12 rounds (compared to 691 for Martinez), a dominant performance. Yet judges only scored it a draw, leaving fans and Salido wondering what he needed to do to win. “I believe I won the fight. I thought in the first couple of rounds they were even, but I took the fight afterwards,” said Salido. “I threw more punches in this fight and I should have won the fight. I dedicated so much to this fight, for the judges to take it away, it isn’t fair. I definitely want another fight.”
Lucky for fans, Golden Boy Boxing matchmaker Robert Diaz had a better idea, and put the Vargas and Salido matchup together. Everyone involved has promised a true Mexican guerra and nothing less.
Will this fight live up to the sky high expectations? It should, but there are several ways it could play out.
Salido can be a slow starter, although he got into gear fairly quickly against Martinez. Vargas roars out of the corner at the opening bell. If he catches Salido early, he may score a quick knockdown just like he did against Miura. But like Miura, who survived to nearly come back and win, Salido is as tough as it gets. Both men may hit the canvas in this fight.
Salido can bang, but he has plenty of skills. He can box, and he isn’t above a few dirty tactics. Salido will do whatever it takes to win. Vargas doesn’t fight well off the back foot. He will need to get closer to Salido to score than Salido does with him. But in general, Vargas is a faster, younger version of Salido. Vargas has far less ring mileage on him. Vargas, 31, is only four years younger than Salido, 35. But Salido has fought four times the number of professional rounds, 407 rounds to Vargas’s 101 rounds. That sort of wear and tear adds up, and it can show itself nearly overnight.
Salido has gone the distance in four of his last six fights, including the last two. Vargas is coming off four straight stoppages, and he’s the number one ranked super featherweight in the world. It’s impossible to bet against him.
In the HBO televised undercard, two undefeated featherweights put their records on the line for the vacant NABA title, Julian “El Camaron” Ramirez (16-0, 8 KOs) and Abraham “Chamaco” Lopez (20-0-1, 15 KOs). Ramirez and Lopez are both Southern Californians and regulars at Golden Boy Boxing’s “LA Fight Club” in Los Angeles. They will have plenty of local fans in the seats generating excitement. This is what regional boxing action is all about, and HBO viewers can enjoy being part of it for a night.
The remainder of the undercard can be watched live starting at 5:10 pm ET/2:10 pm on RingTV.com, featuring 2015 Comeback Fighter of the Year, middleweight Gabriel Rosado.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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