By Keith Idec
An unfazed Orlando Salido is taking the same calm, professional approach to his fight Saturday night against unproven favorite Vasyl Lomachenko that he has taken throughout his 18-year pro career.
The 26-year-old Lomachenko, a two-time Olympic gold medalist from Ukraine, is a 6-1 favorite over Salido (40-12-2, 28 KOs, 1 NC), despite that he has just one professional fight on his record. Mexico’s Salido, 33, is a three-time world champion who’ll defend his WBO featherweight title in their scheduled 12-rounder at Alamodome in San Antonio.
“I have been an underdog all my professional career and this fight is no different,” Salido said Wednesday during an open workout in San Antonio. “I come to fight and do the best I can. I don’t pick my opponents and never have.
“I know why Lomachenko is getting this opportunity. He was one of the best amateur boxers and has two gold medals. I came up the hard way and I worked for everything I have.”
Lomachenko (1-0, 1 KO) stopped Mexican veteran Jose Ramirez (25-4, 15 KOs) in the fourth round of his pro debut Oct. 12 at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. The skilled southpaw’s hand speed, combination punching and power impressed media members and fans that night, but Lomachenko still hasn’t boxed beyond four rounds in an actual fight.
Salido, meanwhile, has participated in 10 world title fights. He knows he is more than ready to go 12 rounds, something Lomachenko still needs to prove.
“I guess we will find out Saturday night,” Salido said regarding Lomachenko’s readiness for this fight. “He does have skills. He has fast hands, moves well in the ring, but we will see if he can take my pressure and constant work rate that I will dish out to him.”
The Salido-Lomachenko match will be the first of two fights televised by HBO, beginning at 9:45 p.m. ET. The 12-round main event will match Mexico’s Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (47-1-1, 32 KOs, 1 NC) against Bryan Vera (23-7, 14 KOs), of Austin, Texas, in a super middleweight rematch.
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.