Hard-nosed Orlando Salido rarely fails to deliver a compelling match

Kevin Iole
Boxing
Orlando Salido prepares for his bout on Saturday in Puerto Rico against Rocky Martinez (Ivan Ojeda/PRBBP)

SALIDO SHADOW BOX

Orlando Salido prepares for his bout on Saturday in Puerto Rico against Rocky Martinez (Ivan Ojeda/PRBBP)

Orlando "Siri" Salido is one of those guys who is never going to make a ton of money. He's never going to be the most popular fighter. He's never going to be regarded as the best in the world.

But if boxing is to not only survive, but thrive, it needs a lot of guys just like Salido, fighters who are willing to take on anyone and who put on a show every time out.

Salido, who faces Rocky Martinez in the main event of a pay-per-view card on Saturday in San Juan, Puerto Rico, for the WBO junior lightweight title, isn't hurting financially. He has invested in real estate and owns a number of apartments he rents.

He does, however, occasionally wonder about a system that will pay one fighter nine figures for one bout and look down upon others who routinely put on jaw-dropping fights.

Salido was the victor in the brutal battle last year with Terdsak Kokietgym, which was chosen as the 2014 Yahoo Sports Fight of the Year over a field of many worthy challengers.

Orlando Salido (R) will defend the WBO junior lightweight title Saturday in Puerto Rico against Roman Rocky Martinez (Ivan Ojeda/PRBBP)
Orlando Salido (R) will defend the WBO junior lightweight title Saturday in Puerto Rico against Roman Rocky Martinez (Ivan Ojeda/PRBBP)

And after taking a few months to let his wounds heal, he's signed on for another difficult assignment. He's on the road once again, fighting Martinez in front of Martinez's hometown crowd. Going places others fear to tread is how he's made his living. If former light heavyweight champion Glen Johnson is "The Road Warrior," then Salido can take the Spanish version of the name. Call him "Guerrero de Carretera."

HIs manager, Sean Gibbons, said Salido would love to fight Top Rank's burgeoning star, Felix Verdejo, sometime later this year if he gets past Martinez on Saturday. A win over Martinez would be his fourth over a prominent Puerto Rican star in the last four years. He's beaten Juan Manuel Lopez twice and Orlando Cruz.

"We might as well just go ahead and wipe out the entire island," Gibbons said, tongue-in-cheek.

Salido said he expects yet another difficult fight, but that is pretty much the only kind of fight he takes. He said he needed a month off after the brutal battle with Kokietgym, but said despite the many wars among his 57 pro fights, he is still well preserved.

He said he can deliver another such showing on Saturday, if need be, though he admitted to being a bit disappointed when it comes to the discrepancy in pay. Fighters such as Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao dwarf what all others earn. But even those like Wladimir Klitschko, Miguel Cotto, Bernard Hopkins and Canelo Alvarez far outearn guys like Salido, even though Salido rarely, if ever, fails to deliver.

"It's nothing I dwell on, but I do feel badly about it because we're all professional boxers and I know I give the fans who pay to see me fight as the same or more entertainment as those guys do," Salido said. "But that's life. There's not much I can do about it, so I'll just keep fighting hard and making people want to see me."

 

What to Read Next