Fight Pick & Preview – Salido vs. Lomachenko:
On March 1, two-time Olympic gold medalist and 2013 ProBoxing-Fans.com Prospect of the Year Vasyl Lomachenko takes on super-tough 54-fight veteran Orlando Salido in only his second pro fight. Lomachenko certainly has the pedigree, which features immaculate amateur credentials, including that pair of Olympic championships, and a reported amateur record of 396 wins against a single loss, which was twice-avenged. Still, after an easy pro debut win over a ho-hum Jose Ramirez, this is as stern of an entrance exam into the real world of pro boxing that you could ask for.
Orlando Salido, 40-12-2 (28 KOs), Sonora, Mexico/Phoenix, Arizona
Vasyl Lomachenko, 1-0 (1 KO), Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi, Ukraine
- Site: Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas
- Weight Class: Featherweight (12 Rounds)
It’s quite a remarkable occurrence for a 1-fight pro to be fighting a guy who is really one of the top featherweights in the world. Beating Orlando Salido is no piece of cake for even the most elite 126-pounders in the world. Sure, his record shows a dozen defeats and he has been stopped 5 times. That hardly tells the whole story.
The now 33-year old Salido turned pro at 15 years of age and after 23 fights was a mediocre 14-8-2 with all 5 of his stoppage losses occurring in that span. More pertinent is the fact that over the past 4 years or so, Orlando Salido represents a top-notch featherweight. Unless you’re super-talents like Mikey Garcia or Yuriorkis Gamboa, you’re not beating Orlando Salido and neither of them found it particularly easy, either.
It’s hard to not admire the career-path of Lomachenko. It’s jarring at first thought for a 1-0 fighter to be in a fight like this. On second thought, it’s a good way to create some quick sizzle to his brand. In addition, it may actually be somewhat pointless for a 25-year old who has beaten the best amateurs in the world for an extended period of time to go through the typical and exhaustive process of climbing through the pro ranks. We already know he can beat all the obscure no-names, so why waste time?
On the other hand, Salido is a top guy and with the exit of Mikey Garcia from 126-pounds, he fits in nicely with the best at featherweight with guys like Nonito Donaire, Jhonny Gonzalez, and Abner Mares, if not just a small click under that bunch. For Lomachenko, it’s a mighty-tough test. You can fight hundreds of eastern European amateurs until you’re blue in the face. Not many of them have much in common with Orlando Salido. He does things that pros do. He imposes his strength and ruggedness on a fighter over the course of rounds. He slowly chips away and uses all the tricks built up over the course of a career that will be exactly 18 years old by fight-night.
Salido is a smash-mouth fighter who can punch well with his right hand and take a good shot. He will engage in roughhouse tactics, like holding and hitting, low blows, and using his head–something Mikey Garcia found out after getting his nose smashed and having to wave the white flag after 10 rounds in a scheduled 12. That was against an established pro. If relative veterans can’t escape the Salido wrath, what are the chances of a 1-fight pro like Lomachenko?
Let’s face it, you don’t win a pair of gold medals in the Olympics, win 396 out of 397 fights, and even entertain the option of fighting a top guy in your 2nd fight without being a major talent of the highest magnitude. Lomachenko certainly fits that description. He’s a beautiful looking fighter of grace, fluidity, speed, and power. His shots spring forth with startling velocity and he can snake in deadly punches to the body that can really cripple an opponent. His first and only pro opponent was not anywhere near Salido’s caliber, but was a credible 25-3 fighter who had never been stopped. And he had no answer whatsoever for Lomacheko attack, particularly to the body.
Equally impressive in Lomachenko’s defensive capacity. The southpaw tactician has great punch anticipation, holds his body in a way where he doesn’t give the opponent many good angles, and his offense is also a major deterrent. An opponent can find out quickly that a commitment to being busy offensively is only going to expose him to be full scope of Lomachenko’s menace.
This is a risk, but a calculating one on the part of Team Lomachenko. A win over Salido will certainly have its desired affect and put the Ukrainian at the top of the list of the best up-and-comers in the sport. It’s just Salido’s best fighting may be behind him. He was fairly non-competitive against Mikey Garcia, despite the fact that he was coming on a bit late. His last fight was a dominant display that looked like vintage Salido, but his opponent Orlando Cruz was out of his element and is at best a fringe contender. As dangerous as he remains, he may be a tick off the form that saw him score the two signature wins of his career with 2011 and 2012 knockouts of the then-budding superstar Juan Manuel Lopez.
Salido vs. Lomachenko Prediction
Lomachenko’s biggest problems in this fight will be the parts of Salido’s game in which he may not be accustomed, like his durability, roughhousing, irrepressibility, and the fact that he knows how to fight 12 hard rounds. Tactically, a lot of things don’t seem to shake out in Salido’s favor. He’s at a speed deficit and while he may do damage on the lefty Lomachenko with his big right hand, he better watch out for incoming missiles because the young challenger can punch.
Salido’s offense will lack a certain level of refinement that will stand in stark contrast to the elegant sharpshooting of Lomachenko. With each passing round, Salido will get increasingly dissuaded, as he gets whacked to the body and head whenever he tries to launch an offense with his wide long shots. In between Salido’s offerings, Lomachenko will strike with precision.
The Olympic hero will pick his spots, respectful of Salido’s staying power and experience, as well as still being unsure of going the 12-round distance. Without ruling out a late stoppage, I like Lomachenko by a fairly-convincing decision win.
Prediction: Vasyl Lomachenko wins by unanimous decision.