By Francisco Salazar
After weeks of opponents and fight dates falling through, Orlando Salido has finally secured a date to return to the ring.
The junior lightweight contender will square off against Miguel 'Mickey' Roman on Dec. 9, Sean Gibbons confirmed to Boxingscene.com late Monday night.
The 10 round bout will take place at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. The Salido-Roman bout will headline a three-bout HBO broadcast.
A press conference will be held today (Wednesday) in Los Angeles to formally announced the fight card.
Salido (44-13-3, 31 knockouts) had been penciled to return to the ring as early as November. One fight that had been in negotiations was a rematch against WBO junior lightweight titleholder Vasyl Lomachenko, but Top Rank and Zanfer Promotions, which promotes Salido, could not come to an agreement.
Ironically, Lomachenko is defending his title belt on the same day against 122-pound world titleholder Guillermo Rigondeaux inside The Theatre at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
There was even talk of Salido appearing on the undercard of the Sergey Kovalev-Vyacheslav Shabranksyy bout on Nov. 25, but numbers and details were not able to be worked out.
In his last bout on May 27, Salido stopped late-sub Aristides Perez of Colombia after the end of the seventh round in Ciudad Obregon, Sonora, Mexico, where he was born. The 36-year-old Salido, who made his pro debut at the age of 15, currently resides in the Phoenix area.
Roman (57-12, 44 KOs) stopped Nery Saguilan in the 12th round of his last bout on June 24. The fight came almost five months after he was knocked out by Takashi Miura in a fight of the year candidate.
The Dec. 9 card will mark the first sporting event at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino since the horrific mass shooting on Oct. 1, killing 58 people and injuries dozens more. The gunman fired multiple rounds from a suite on the 32nd floor of the hotel onto a crowd at an outdoor concert venue across the street.
“Fernando (Beltran) and (K2 Promotions’ Managing Director) Tom Loeffler felt that the timing was right after the horrible shooting to being a big event back to Las Vegas,” said Gibbons. Beltran is the promoter of Zanfer Promotions. “We wanted to show the world that (Las) Vegas will stay strong against horrific, cowardly acts.”
“We are going to bring a lot of the (first responders) and other that were involved (on Oct. 1) to honor them. It will be a big moment for the Mandalay Bay.”
Also on the HBO telecast will be a 12 round bout between Tevin Farmer (25-4-1, 5 KOs) and Kenichi Ogawa (22-1, 17 KOs) with the vacant IBF junior lightweight title up for grabs. Ogawa and Farmer are ranked fourth and fifth by the IBF, respectfully.
Round out the broadcast will be a 10 round bout between Francisco Vargas (23-1-2, 17 KOs), who is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, and Stephen Smith (25-3, 15 KOs). Vargas has not fought since his knockout loss to Miguel Berchelt on Jan. 28.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, RingTV.com, and FightNights.com. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing