By Steve Kim
This Saturday night from the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas there is an all-Mexican super featherweight battle between Orlando Salido and Miguel 'Micky' Roman, which will be broadcast on HBO.
Veteran trainer, Rudy Hernandez, is now working with Roman (57-12/44 KO's) and he says bluntly - "I'm expecting a war, I'm expecting it to be a candidate for 'fight of the year' and I think it's going to be a really, really tough fight for both."
Both Salido and Roman bring in rugged, no-frills styles into the ring.
"I told (Roman),'come round one, come out fighting strong,' the fight [has] now been turned into a ten rounder so we have ten rounds to try to get in as fast as possible in our favor and maybe even end it before the tenth round,"said Hernandez, who believes that Salido (44-13-4/31 KO's) at age 37 is ready to be pushed off the cliff.
"As sad as it is, it's just the way boxing is," he explained. "I'm hoping that he just got old and that would be to our advantage."
The co-main event of the show will spotlight Philadelphia’s Tevin Farmer (25-4-1, 5 KOs) and Tokyo’s Kenichi Ogawa (22-1, 17 KOs) in a 12-round world title contest. Farmer was on an 18-bout win streak until he was shot in the hand while attempting to break up an altercation at a party. Fighting in the U.S. for the first time, Ogawa has won 14 straight bouts following his only loss, in 2012. The fight marks the first shot at a world title for either man.
The night opens with Francisco Vargas (23-1-2, 17 KOs) from Mexico City, Mexico taking on Stephen Smith (25-3, 15 KOs) of Liverpool, UK in a 10-round contest. Vargas looks to get back on a win streak following a majority draw against Salido and a KO loss to Miguel Berchelt in a brutal fight seen last January on HBO. Smith has knocked out more than half his opponents and is fighting in the U.S. for just the second time.
Steve Kim is the news editor for BoxingScene.com.