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Mikey Garcia Tabs Lomachenko To Take Salido's Belt

By Keith Idec

Mikey Garcia has first-hand knowledge of Orlando Salido’s toughness and durability, but he, too, expects Vasyl Lomachenko to defeat Salido on Saturday night in San Antonio.

“Salido is a tough guy,” Garcia said. “I’m looking forward to that fight. Skills do beat experience and toughness, just the way I was beating Salido with skills. Salido is the more experienced of the two, so it should be a very good fight. But Lomachenko should beat him with skills.”

Garcia floored Salido four times during their January 2013 fight for the WBO featherweight title in The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Salido still came back to have some success before an accidental clash of heads broke Garcia’s nose and sent their scheduled 12-rounder to the scorecards after eight rounds.

Garcia (34-0, 28 KOs), of Oxnard, Calif., was winning their bout by large margins on all three scorecards (79-70, 79-69, 70-69) at the time referee Benjy Esteves stopped it.

With 31 professional fights on his record by the time he faced Salido (40-12-2, 28 KOs, 1 NC), Garcia felt more than ready to box an experienced, rugged veteran of Salido’s caliber. The WBO super featherweight champion could not imagine, however, taking that type of difficult fight immediately after his pro debut. He can’t help but admire the highly ambitious approach Ukraine’s Lomachenko, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, has taken toward his 12-rounder against Salido at Alamodome (HBO; 9:45 p.m. ET).

“That’s amazing,” Garcia said. “I’ve never heard of that. That’s great for him, if he can capture a world title in his second professional fight.”

Like most, Garcia was impressed by the 26-year-old Lomachenko’s performance in his pro debut. The skilled, strong southpaw stopped Mexican veteran Jose Ramirez (25-4, 15 KOs) in the fourth round Oct. 12 at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

“He has many world championships and gold medals from his amateur days, so he’s definitely skilled,” Garcia said. “He definitely has what it takes to be a world champion. We just want to see if he can be a professional world champion.”

Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

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