Orlando Salido to defend title Nov. 10
Featherweight titlist Orlando Salido and top contender Miguel Angel "Mikey" Garcia, whose fight has been agreed to for months pending a television deal for the bout, will meet Nov. 10 in an HBO main event at the Wynn Las Vegas.
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The holdup in finalizing the date and television arrangements was Showtime had the right to match any offer on the fight because of an option it held in connection to a previous Salido bout it televised. Showtime had until Thursday to match HBO's offer or pass on the fight. On Tuesday, the network passed, Top Rank's Carl Moretti and Showtime Sports general manager Stephen Espinoza both told ESPN.com.
"Showtime informed our attorney that they are passing on the match," Moretti said, adding that the card will take place in a 3,500-seat ballroom at the Wynn.
Top Rank and HBO officials worked out their agreement for the "Boxing After Dark" main event two weeks ago in Las Vegas when they were together for the Sergio Martinez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. promotion at host hotel Wynn. Top Rank forwarded the offer to Showtime, which ultimately passed because Top Rank had a deal with Wynn Las Vegas to do the fight on Nov. 10.
Showtime already has a fight card scheduled on that date headlined by junior featherweight titlist Abner Mares' defense against bantamweight titleholder Anselmo Moreno at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and Top Rank did not want to switch dates.
"This is a fight that matches Garcia's youth against Salido's experience," Moretti said. "It's boxer-puncher (Garcia) versus brawler (Salido). Clearly, whoever wins the fight establishes himself as probably the best featherweight in the world."
In the co-feature, junior middleweight contenders Vanes Martirosyan and Erislandy Lara will meet in an elimination fight with the winner earning a mandatory shot at the belt held by titleholder Saul "Canelo" Alvarez.
Top Rank, which promotes 2004 U.S. Olympian Martirosyan (32-0, 20 KOs), won the right to the fight by winning a purse bid in July. Top Rank's offer of $405,000 topped the $326,000 bid made by rival Golden Boy, which has Lara (17-1-1, 11 KOs), a former world amateur champion who defected from Cuba, under contract.
"It's a very interesting fight," Moretti said. "Both guys are quality contenders and both guys had stellar amateur backgrounds. There is a lot on the line for both of these guys. The winner of this fight will have truly earned the title fight. Vanes is really pumped for it."
Said Martirosyan, "I'm bringing a big wagon so after I beat Lara people can jump on the Team Vanes Wagon. I can't wait."
Salido (39-11-2, 27 KOs), 31, of Mexico, will be making the third defense of the 126-pound title he won in April 2011 with an eighth-round knockout of Juan Manuel Lopez on Lopez's home turf in Puerto Rico in one of the most exciting fights of the year. Salido also stopped Lopez in the 10th round of a rematch in March, also in Puerto Rico. Garcia knocked out Bernabe Concepcion in the seventh-round in the co-feature, leading to speculation that he would be a future challenger for Salido.
However, Garcia (29-0, 25 KOs), 24, of Oxnard, Calif., originally was headed to a mandatory title fight against Panama's Celestino Caballero. But the fight did not come off after promoter Sampson Boxing defaulted on a purse bid it won. At that point, Garcia's team turned its attention to Salido, an easier fight to make because both fighters are with Top Rank.
"This is a great opportunity for Mikey even though Salido is not the guy we originally wanted," manager Cameron Dunkin said. "This is the toughest featherweight in the world. It's a very, very tough fight for Mikey. Believe me, there are other guys we would have rather fought but we needed somebody who would show up. Mikey wanted to fight for a title and with the other fight (against Caballero) falling apart, we all talked about it -- me, Mike, his father (Eduardo) and (trainer and brother) Robert -- and we decided we needed to go and make this fight.
"We wanted to fight Caballero but it didn't materialize for different reasons. So here we are. We know Salido is a warrior. We know it's a really hard fight, but Mikey is ready. This is what he's wanted. Salido was willing to give Mikey the opportunity and he can't wait."
Moretti said HBO would show highlights of two of Top Rank's blue-chip prospects who will appear on the card: 20-year-old Las Vegas junior featherweight Jesse Magdaleno (11-0, 8 KOs) and super middleweight Jesse Hart (3-0, 3 KOs), 23, of Philadelphia. Magdaleno will fight in a scheduled eight-rounder, with Hart appearing in a four-rounder, both against opponents to be determined.