Orlando Salido: ‘Beatable’ Vasyl Lomachenko is ‘last fight at 126’


Orlando Salido says that his last fight as a featherweight will be the March 1 defense of his WBO belt against Vasyl Lomachenko, whom he calls "very beatable."

Half of Salido's losses took place in the first 15 fights of his career, including a unanimous-decision loss to Juan Manuel Marquez at 126 pounds in a bid to win the IBF and WBA titles in September 2004.

Salido (40-12-2, 28 knockouts) won a featherweight belt for the third time in October, this one coming via seventh-round stoppage over Orlando Cruz.

"I believe that this will be my last fight at 126," said Salido, 33, who has been decisioned by Yuriorkis Gamboa and split bouts with Cristobal Cruz.

"I don't think that I can do much more in the 126-pound division, and I think that it's time for me to move up to 130 and see what I can do in that weight category."

With the win over Cruz, Salido rebounded from an eighth-round technical decision loss to Mikey Garcia in January of last year that cost him his WBO title and ended a string of knockout victories at five.

On the undercard of Salido-Cruz, Lomachenko scored knockdowns in the first and final rounds to win what was billed as his pro debut by fourth-round knockout over Jose Luis Ramirez.

Lomachenko, a two-time Olympic gold medalist who turns 26 on Monday, hopes to make history by defeating Salido in what is purportedly his second pro fight when they meet at The Alamodome in San Antonio on the undercard of a rematch between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Bryan Vera.

According to Fight Fax Inc., boxing's official record keeper, Lomachenko is actually 7-0 because he was paid to take part in six World Series of Boxing fights.

Salido shared his thoughts on Lomachenko in this Q&A: What is the message you're getting from the fact that Lomachenko sees this as a history-making fight against you?

Orlando Salido: I just think that he has so much confidence from his amateur career and with all of those Olympic medals that he's gotten.

I think that he is so confident that he believes that he is ready for this level of fighting. But professional boxing is very, very different.

I think that he's going to learn that it is not the same and that professional boxing is not something that he is used to. He's going to learn that the hard way. Were you able to gain anything from watching replays of Lomachenko's fight with Ramirez?

OS: I actually learned a lot about him from watching that fight. I noticed that he was vulnerable in some areas and that he's not a complete fighter.

I think that he's a quick fighter with quick hands and it looks like he's very intelligent in the ring. But I think that he's very beatable. He's a very beatable guy. Do you think that the best strategy is for you to dictate the relentless pressure you always seem to?

OS: My strategy will be to be on top of him and to pressure him, and to stay really tight and really close to him. I'm going to make him work really hard during the first half of the fight.

By doing that, I think that will enable me to finish him off later on in the fight, like, maybe in the eighth or ninth round. I think that I'll make him work so hard in the first two or three rounds that I'll be able to do that. Is there anything about Lomachenko's style that you have not seen during your career?

OS: You know, I've fought everybody. I've faced all kinds of styles and I just think that his style and my style are really going to mesh well.

Both of us fight a little differently, but I think that our styles will mesh. At the end of the day, it's going to be a great fight and we're going to put on a great show. Do you feel that you are showing any signs of slowing down, given that you have been in so many gruelling fights over the course of your career?

OS: I think that, if anything, this is probably the end of my fighting at 126. It's just become so much more difficult and required so much more and more sacrifices to make 126.

I just think that the past couple of years, making 126 has become so much more difficult for me. I think that it's time for me to move up to 130, and that will give me the opportunity to have a longer career and still do some of the other things that I want to do in boxing.

I believe that this will be my last fight at 126. I don't think that I can do much more in the 126-pound division, and I think that it's time for me to move up to 130 and see what I can do in that weight category.