By Dan Ambrose: Former two division world champion Orlando Salido (43-13-3, 30 KOs) will be challenging WBC super featherweight champion Francisco Vargas (23-0-1, 17 KOs) this Saturday night on HBO Championship Boxing from the StubHub Center in Carson, California. This will be the 31-year-old Vargas’ first defense of his WBC title.
Vargas won the WBC belt with an exciting 9th round knockout win over WBC champion Takashi Miura last November in a grueling fight. Vargas was knocked down in the 4th round of the fight and looked to be on his way to losing the bout.
Vargas lucked out when Miura gassed in the second half of the contest and was taken out in the 9th.
Salido, 35, has to hope that the fight is scored better than his last one against Roman Gonzalez last September because that was a really poorly scored fight. Salido fought Martinez to a controversial 12 round decision. Salido appeared to do more than enough to deserve a 12 round decision, but two of the judges thought otherwise in scoring it 115-113 for Martinez and 114-114 even.
That was a tough pill for Salido to swallow because he believed he’d done more than enough to rate a victory. It’s too bad the two of them aren’t facing each other Saturday night because Salido would like to get another chance at facing Martinez to avenge that loss.
Vargas is a tough fight for Salido after the last bout. It remains to be seen whether Salido will have enough youth left to win this bout. But it’s also going to be a tough one for Vargas given how much punishment he soaked up in his last contest against Miura. It might come down to which of these two fighters is the less worn from their recent fights.
Vargas might have an advantage in this bout because he didn’t take quite as many huge shots as Salido did. But this is a big step up for Vargas in facing Salido because he’s not had to fight anyone at his level in his career. Vargas just has the fight against Miura to show for his career in terms of facing high quality opposition.
Vargas vs. Salido is going a toss-up. Vargas’ team interviewed here.
Vargas’ win over Juan Manuel Lopez in 2014 was against a shot Lopez and not the fighter he was in the prime of his career. There are a lot of unknowns about Vargas, and he might not be ready for a guy as good as Salido at this juncture of his career.