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Miguel Berchelt vs. Orlando Salido on Dec.9

Orlando Salido

By Dan Ambrose: In a battle of the young vs. the old, WBC super featherweight champion Miguel “El Alacran” Berchelt (32-1, 28 KOs) will be making his second defense of his World Boxing Council 130-pound title against 36-year-old former 2 division world champion Orlando “Siri” Salido (44-13, 4, 31 KOs) on December 9th at a still to be determined location.

Salido vs. Berchelt takes place on the same night as the super featherweight clash between WBO champion Vasily Lomachenko and super bantamweight Guillermo Rigondeaux. With those fights taking place on different networks, one of the fights is likely going to suffer for it.

“It’ll come down to, ‘Do you want to see real boxing or ballerina boxing, two guys playing chess?” said Salido’s manager Sean Gibbons to the about the difference between the Salido vs. Berchelt fight and the Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux match.

There’s no question that the Berchelt-Salido fight will be the more entertaining fight to watch compared to the Lomachenko-Rigondeaux fight, which is going to be mostly movement, boxing, and pot shots for 12 rounds. Berchelt and Salido are sluggers, and they’re going to be looking to trade nonstop for 12 rounds. However, Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux fight will receive a ton of hype from the boxing world due to both fighters being 2-time Olympic gold medalists.

Lomachenko is backed by the promotional powerhouse Top Rank, so they’ll market the Lomachenko-Rigondeaux fight heavily. Moreover, with the fight being shown on ESPN, a free network to some extent, it’s going to make the fight more available to massive amounts of casual boxing fans. Whether the fans will stick around to watch the finish of the Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux fight is another matter. When you’re talking casual fans, they’re not going to keep their eyeballs glued to their TV sets if the Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux fight fails to produce fireworks. If it’s just running and boxing, the fans are going to pick up their channel changer and watch something else. On paper, Berchelt vs. Salido promises to be the far more exciting fight of the 2. There’s no comparison. Berchelt and Salido both like to trade, and they won’t be running around the ring like Lomachenko and Rigondeaux, boring the boxing fans for 12 rounds. It’s going to be nonstop action between Berchelt and Salido.

The only question is about the fight is whether Salido will be sharp enough to make a good effort. Salido hasn’t done much since his fight with Francisco Vargas in 2016. Salido is getting up there in age at 36, and he might not have enough left in the tank to make it an exciting fight like we’re used to seeing from him.

The venue being talked about for the Berchelt vs. Salido fight is Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada. Hopefully for Salido’s sake he gets some quality judges that are picked out by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for his fight with Berchelt. The last time that Salido fought in Las Vegas, he was held to a controversial 12 round draw against WBO World super featherweight champion Roman Martinez on September 12, 2015. Salido battered Martinez badly for 12 rounds. During the middle rounds of the fight, Salido punished Martinez so badly that the fight looked to be in danger of being stopped. Martinez was beaten to a pulp. Surprisingly, the judges gave Martinez a draw. I had Salido winning easily by 8 rounds to 4 score. You could maybe argue for 9 rounds to 3 score in favor or Salido, but definitely not a draw at 114-114. Salido wasn’t happy about the draw. You must wonder whether he feels he’ll be given a fair shake by going back to Las Vegas.

Salido has had hand problems recently that have kept him out of the ring. A fight against Vasily Lomachenko was talked about, but Salido couldn’t take the fight because he was injured. Fortunately for Salido, he’s now healed and ready to get back inside the ring in less than 2 months to challenge Berchelt for his WBC 130lb. title.

Boxing News 24 rated Berchelt vs. Salido as the second-best match-up that can be made at 130. The only fight that would be better than Berchelt-Salido would be a match between Salido and WBO super featherweight champion Vasily Lomachenko. The promoters for Lomachenko at Top Rank have after Salido recently to get him to sign for a rematch against the 2-time Olympic gold medalist. The boxing world wants to see Salido and Lomachenko face each other again, as their previous fight each other in 2014 saw the Mexican star win an exciting 12 round split decision. It was a great fight from start to finish with Salido ignoring Lomachenko’s head and focusing on throwing to the body. Lomachenko had never fought a body puncher before like Salido, and he couldn’t deal with it.

Lomachenko spent the entire fight clinching to try and keep Salido from hitting him to the body. The referee gave Lomachenko a huge break by not disqualifying him or taking points away from his excessive clinching in the fight. It was clear that Lomachenko was just trying to survive. The judge that scored the fight to Lomachenko was way off. Lomachenko deserved no more than 2 rounds in the entire fight, as he was just holding. There’s clinching that a fighter does when they’re hurt, which is permitted, and then there’s clinching that is done to game the system to stall out a fight. That’s not supposed to be permitted by the referee. Lomachenko got away with it, but fortunately 2 of the judges did their job and gave Salido the victory

The 25-year-old Berchelt is considered one of the best fighters in the super featherweight division. You could say that maybe only Vasily Lomachenko is better than the Mexican warrior Berchelt at this time. Former IBF 130 lb. champion Gervonta Davis would have given Berchelt a real run for his money if he’d stuck around, but it appears that he’s going to be moving up to lightweight after he failed to make weight in his last fight. We’ll have to see. Berchelt is 11 years younger than Salido, and he’s fighting at top form like a fighter that has been a pro for many years. Berchelt has only been a pro for 7 years since entering the pro ranks in 2010. As an amateur, Berchelt was a three-time Mexican National Boxing Champion.

Berchelt isn’t invincible, as we saw in his 1st round knockout loss 3 years ago to Luis Eduardo Florez on March 15, 2014. Berchelt came out swinging in the 1st round and he was immediately hurt by the hard hitting Florez (23-7, 19 KOs), who comes from Colombia. Florez is a vulnerable fighter, but he can punch with incredible power. Berchelt was willing to test his power early, and he paid a heavy price by getting knocked out immediately.

Salido has taken his foot off the accelerator in his long 21-year pro career lately done little in the last year. Salido has fought only once since fighting to a controversial 12 round draw last year against WBC World super featherweight champion Francisco Vargas on June 4. To say that Salido was robbed in that fight against Vargas is putting it lightly. It was arguably an even worst decision than the 12 round draw that Saul Canelo Alvarez was given against Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. Salido battered Vargas for 12 rounds and did enough to deserve a clear win, but the judges gave Vargas a 12 round draw.

For Salido, that was his 3rd consecutive controversial decision that he was involved in. Before that, Salido had fought Roman Martinez 2 times and been dealt with a 12 round draw and a 12 round decision defeat respectively. In both fights, Salido appeared to win. In Salido’s last fight against journeyman Aristides Perez, he stopped him in the 7th. Salido would likely be the first to tell you that he wasn’t in the best shape for that fight. Salido looked heavy, sluggish and ring rusty from start to finish.

Salido was staggered in the 5th round when Perez loaded up on a big Sunday punch and nailed him with it. It was a huge uppercut that Salido never saw coming, and it nailed him squarely on the chin. The uppercut is Perez’s best weapon by far in his toolbox, and he’s able to generate world class power with it. Perez may not be a good fighter, but he does have major power on his uppercut that he likes to throw. Once Salido realized that Perez was trying to catch him repeatedly with uppercuts, he neutralized the punch by leaning away from him, and nailing with body shots. By the 7th round, Perez was wearing Perez down with hard punches to the body that took the smile off his face. Perez had been pretty cocky earlier in the fight after hurting Salido, but that changed once he started getting hit to the body. The confidence disappeared from Perez’s face, and he looked like a hunted animal. At the end of the 7th, Perez decided he didn’t want to go out on his shield. Instead he quit on his stool. It was a disappointing finish to the fight because you would think that Perez would want to at least fight to the finish instead of quitting on his stool the way he did.

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