Redemption and resilience defined the night in boxing as Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. dominated Bryan Vera in their rematch last Saturday and Orlando Salido survived a perilous 12th round to defeat Vasyl Lomachenko.
Salido (41-12-2, 28KO) lost the WBO featherweight title on the scales by weighting 2.5 pounds over the 126 pound featherweight limit. By fight night, Salido reportedly had an 11 pound advantage over Lomachenko.
Depending on the source, Lomachenko’s record has been listed either 2-1, 1KO or 7-1, 1KO. The two-time Olympic gold medalist won six matches in the World Series of Boxing and received payment for them, hence the reason many experts consider Lomachenko to have eight professional bouts, not two.
The first round saw both men land decent shots but neither seemed to establish control. Things immediately changed when Salido put more pressure on Lomachenko and landed clean blows, including some below the belt that quickly became a recurring event.
The roughhouse tactics and legal body blows clearly flustered Lomachenko. He continued to move well but every time Salido landed to the body, the Olympian would either retreat or try to hold Salido instead of fighting back.
By the late rounds, Salido had lost any respect he possessed for Lomachenko’s power and began to attack head on. Lomachenko lacked the experience to stop Salido’s aggression.
Round 12 provided a different narrative as the Ukrainian fighter finally used Salido’s aggression against him by landing a solid left cross while Salido was coming in. The Mexican fighter had to use all his experience and will to complete the fight on his feet but he managed to survive.
The scorecards read 116-112 and 115-113 for Salido and 115-113 for Lomachenko.
Salido has stated that this will be his last fight in the featherweight division giving the struggles to make weight. Although the weight advantage may have hindered his performance, it was nevertheless a good performance by an underdog veteran who used professional tactics to take the amateur star out of his game.
Lomachenko should take this fight as a learning experience and not feel disappointed by the result. He proved that he is an extremely talented fighter and his days of fighting journeymen are over. That is impressive considering the guy only has eight professional bouts. Nothing in boxing is definite, but it looks like this guy could be a star and pound-for-pound elite someday. Just not right now.
Chavez managed to show up at weight this time around and his motivation showed in the ring. He quickly established the lead left-hook and effectively jabbed at Vera.
Vera remained game throughout the bout but his punches had little effect on Chavez. As a result, he lost many rounds but managed to land shots from time to time. Vera lost a point in round eight for holding but that would prove to be academic to the scorecards.
Chavez continued his punishing assault but in round 12 he largely played with Vera by running and clowning which caused some of the crowd to boo.
The scorecards read 117-110 (twice) and 114-113 for Chavez.
A potential matchup between Chavez and WBA middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin has been in the works. The main issue would likely be weight given Chavez is now fighting at 168 pounds while Golovkin is a middleweight (160 pounds).
Vera gave another spirited effort but it appears he will remain a gatekeeper. In the past, Vera has spoiled other top prospects and hyped fighters such as Andy Lee, Sergio Mora, and Serhiy Dzinziruk. Vera’s bouts are always entertaining but it would be best for him to avoid the kind of punishment that Chavez delivered.
As for Chavez, he has earned back some credibility by doing what is expected of professional fighters. He remains a contender and hopefully he has learned to take boxing seriously. An uncaring and unprofessional attitude such as the one he displayed in the events before the first bout with Vera will get him creamed in the elite level.
Opponents such as Golovkin must be taken seriously.