Friday, April 20, 2012
Broner-Salido? Makes sense
By Dan Rafael
Adrien Broner and his father will get a break from brushing if Orlando Salido has his way.
The news on Thursday night that junior lightweight titlist Adrien Broner's second title defense on May 19 on HBO would come against England's Gary Sykes was met with vicious feedback on Twitter.
Fight fans know it's likely a brutal mismatch in a 130-pound division that has very little in terms of talent beyond Broner. After I wrote the Broner-Sykes story, I got an email from Sean Gibbons, the manager of featherweight titlist Orlando Salido, who is coming off a tremendous battle and knockout of Juan Manuel Lopez in a March title defense.
Gibbons made it clear that Salido, with little name opposition to face at 126 pounds, would be happy to move to 130 to fight Broner, who is desperately looking for a legitimate opponent. Salido is that guy.
"Orlando Salido would love a shot at Broner," Gibbons wrote. Then Gibbons invoked Broner's well-known ritual of having his father brush his hair in the ring before the postfight interview.
"Salido will brush his hair all over the canvas," Gibbons wrote. "When Broner is ready for a real fight, Orlando Salido is available."
I tweeted Gibbons' remarks and immediately was inundated with responses from fans who loved the matchup.
Even the 22-year-old Broner tweeted back to me: "I will make him look like the big head lil human he already is. Salido is a good lil fighter but I'm one of a kind and if we was to fight the world will see why I'm in a different league."
I say bring it on.
Broner has no one to face at 130. He should clobber Sykes. After that, he's due to fight again in his hometown of Cincinnati in August, probably against Golden Boy stablemate Vicente Escobedo -- a solid contender but also a big underdog. Meanwhile, the 31-year-old Salido (38-11-2, 26 KOs) will fight in late July in his hometown of Ciudad Obregon, Mexico.
After those bouts are out of the way, the field should be clear for a fall showdown.
"If the money is right, Salido is looking for the biggest and best fight at 126 or 130," Gibbons told me when we spoke on the phone a little later. "There's not a lot of big names we can fight at 126. So we've been following Adrien Broner since he got beat by [Daniel] Ponce De Leon, who did not get the decision."
Gibbons is taking a crack at Broner (23-0, 19 KOs), who was quite fortunate to escape with a decision against Ponce De Leon 13 months ago.
"Broner reminds me of when they were building up Andre Berto," Gibbons said. "He fought a lot of nobodies on HBO and then got his first real challenge from Victor Ortiz and lost. Orlando Salido would love to be the first guy to beat Broner."
Don't be fooled by Salido's record, by the way. Eight of his losses were from 2001 or earlier, when he was a teenager and learning on the job. Although Broner would have a certain speed advantage, Salido has shown he can deal with speed. In September 2010, he faced Yuriorkis Gamboa in a featherweight title bout. Gamboa has maybe the best pure speed in boxing to go with considerable power. Although a big underdog, Salido acquitted himself very well. Despite losing a decision, Salido scored a knockdown and was quite competitive. There's no reason he can't be the same with Broner, who has never faced a guy with the kind of heart and pure fighting mentality as Salido.
As for Salido going to Cincinnati for the fight, no problem.
"Salido has made his living on the road," Gibbons said. "He is the Mexican Glenn Johnson, the Mexican 'Road Warrior.' After fighting in front of 10,000 people in Puerto Rico twice against Lopez, there aren't enough people in Cincinnati to scare Salido, including Broner."
Gibbons would like the fight in the fall. I believe that HBO (on which Broner has been fighting) or Showtime (on which Salido fought both Lopez fights) would be interested in it, given that neither man has many other notable options.
"That's what the fall is for, and one of us will fall -- and it won't be Salido," Gibbons said.
Although Salido has fought on Top Rank shows and he and Gibbons are close to the company, Salido is promoted by Fernando Beltran's Zanfer Promotions. Gibbons said there would be no issue having Golden Boy promote the fight, despite the Golden Boy-Top Rank cold war that has kept them from doing business.
"We have a working relationship with Top Rank, but we have no problem working with any promoter," Gibbons said. "I hope somebody's personal differences wouldn't stop one of the best fights at 130 from being made. I'm glad HBO and Golden Boy are undermatching Broner so he will not get beat before Salido has a chance to brush the canvas with his face after he knocks him out."
Those are fightin' words. Now we just need to see the fight.