- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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So just what does junior lightweight titleholder Orlando Salido do for an encore after his all-out slugfest with Thailand’s Terdsak Kokietgym in September in a fight that featured seven knockdowns overall and Salido winning the vacant belt by 11th-round knockout?
He heads from his home country of Mexico to enemy turf in Puerto Rico, of course, to face former two-time junior lightweight titleholder Roman “Rocky” Martinez in another fight that many expect to provide similar fireworks when they meet on Saturday night (PPV, 9 p.m. ET) at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico Jose Miguel Agrelot in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
PR Best Boxing Promotions, which is putting on the fight, named it simply “The War,” as it is a classic Mexico-versus-Puerto Rico rivalry fight and expected to provide a lot of action.
The 34-year-old Salido (42-12-2, 29 KOs) is no stranger to the Puerto Rican fans because he has broken their hearts before. This will be his fourth fight in Puerto Rico -- he’s 3-0 there -- and two of the wins were his famed upset knockouts of favorite son Juan Manuel Lopez in featherweight world title bouts in 2011 and 2012.
“It doesn’t bother me to come to fight in Puerto Rico,” Salido said. “This will be a war between two fighters in the classic Mexico-Puerto Rico rivalry, and we are fighting for a world title. My body still responds well, and as long as it does, I will keep boxing.”
Salido, who suffered six of his losses when he was still a teenager, has won three fights in a row since a technical decision loss to Mikey Garcia in a 2013 featherweight title bout. One of those three wins was a decision against heralded two-time Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko, although Salido failed to make weight and was stripped of a featherweight world title.
Martinez (28-2-2, 17 KOs), 32, has fought only once since getting knocked out by Garcia in the eighth round, as he lost his junior lightweight world title in November 2013.
“I’m fighting as a visiting champion again,” Salido said. “I know I have to give everything I have in that ring to win and look for the knockout. Martinez is a seasoned fighter. He likes to attack, just like me. He throws a lot of punches, is courageous. It will be a great fight.
"I feel very well with the work we have done and am ready for this fight with Rocky, a strong opponent who always comes forward.”
In the co-feature, former lightweight title challenger Jose "Chelo" Gonzalez (23-1, 18 KOs), of Puerto Rico, faces Mexico’s Marvin Quintero (26-5, 22 KOs), also a former title challenger, in a scheduled 10-round bout.
Junior lightweight titleholder Orlando Salido is traveling to Puerto Rico dto defend his title against Roman "Rocky" Martinez on Saturday.