By Ian S Palmer
Unbeaten Francisco Vargas will be defending his WBC Super Featherweight title this Saturday, June 4th against veteran and fellow countryman Orlando Salido. This bout could be a “fight of the year” candidate if it lives up to its potential and it can be seen live in the USA and Canada on the HBO network from the StubHub Center in Carson, California. Vargas last fought in November against Takashi Miura and stopped him in the ninth round. Salido’s last contest took place last September and he fought to a 12-round draw with Roman Martinez I a rematch after Martinez beat him by unanimous decision five months earlier.
The 31-year-old Vargas enters the ring with an impressive record of 23-0-1 along with 17 Kos and has won 20 fights in a row. He stands 5-feet-8-inches tall and has a 70-inch reach. He’s well known to boxing fans for his classic slugfest against Miura of Japan last year and this bout against Salido could end up being just as exciting. Vargas is a former Mexican Olympian who fought in the 2008 Games in Beijing, China and turned pro in 2010. He’s gone 101 rounds since then and has a knockout ratio of 71 per cent.
Vargas is comfortable using his boxing skills or going toe-to-toe and he’s never been beaten no matter what style he chooses to use. He stopped Juan Manuel Lopez in the third round back in 2014 and has also beaten some good opponents in Jerry Belmontes, Will Tomlinson and Abner Cotto. It’s hard to say how much energy the Miura fight sapped out of Vargas and he’s facing another never-say-die warrior in Salido on Saturday night. Salido has plenty of experience and is known to bend the rules from time to time. Vargas’ best option here could be to try and keep his distance and box him rather than get caught up in a brawl.
Salido’s no spring chicken now as he’s 35 years old and his record stands at 43-13-3 along with 30 Kos. He has seven wins, two losses and a draw in his past 10 outings, but has the size disadvantage at 5-foot-6 with a wingspan of 67 inches. He’s lost 13 fights and has been stopped times, including in his pro debut, but nobody’s been able to stop him since early in 1998. He’s faced numerous Grade A boxers during his career such as Juan Manuel Marquez, Mikey Garcia, Robert Guerrero, Yuriorkis Gamboa, and Vasyl Lomachenko as well as Cristobal Cruz, Juan Manuel Lopez and Rocky Martinez twice each. Salido has pretty good power with a knockout ratio of 50 per cent, but he also gets hit a lot and is no stranger to the canvas. However, he’s extremely hard to keep down.
Salido is one of the smartest boxers around because he knows all of the tricks of the trade and if he can stand up to his opponent’s punching power he’s certainly a handful and quite hard to beat. He’s a former WBO Junior Lightweight Champion and fans shouldn’t be misled or fooled by the amount of losses on his record. In fact, he’s a two-time champ at 130 lbs. Salido has 407 rounds under his belt since turning pro in 1996.
This should be an exciting fight with both guys giving and taking and leaving nothing in the ring. There’s no point in trying to analyze it as there likely won’t be too many boxing tactics involved as each man goes for a stoppage. There could be a knockdown or two along the way to make things even more dramatic. Both guys have been through some wars, but Vargas’ age and size advantage could be enough for him to keep his belt.