Photo Credit: Zanfer Boxing
Orlando Salido is in position to win a major title in his second weight class due to a wild 11th round technical knockout over Terdsak Kokietgym last night in Tijuana. Salido’s umpteenth war awarded him the interim WBO super featherweight title, which in theory may lead to a rematch with the sanctioning body’s regular titlist, Mikey Garica. With the end of 2014 marking Salido’s 18th fight as a professional, we are likely seeing the final run of one of boxing’s most battle-hardened soldiers.
THE KNOCKDOWN DIFFERENCE: The fight featured seven knockdowns (three on Salido, four on Kokietgym). In round one, Salido found himself on the canvas within the bout’s opening mintue off a counter right hook. Salido retaliated with body shots and a low blow that was incorrectly ruled a knockdown. Salido’s trademark inside pressure was again stifled in the second round via a knockdown, this time courtesy of a Kokietgym left cross.
The next knockdown would come in the fourth when a Salido straight right to the gut deposited Kokietgym on the seat of his pants. Here is when the “quality” of the knockdowns started to become pronounced. Salido’s overall work was coming from barrages of hooks to the head and body — the knockdowns served as an exclamation point. Kokietgym, while still game, wasn’t consistently stunning Salido with counter shots anymore. Kokietgym would score one more knockdown in the fifth when Salido squared up for a cluster of body shots. However, the knockdown seemed to annoy Salido more than hurt (only a glove touched the canvas), and he went back to adiministering a methodical beating — two more knockdowns on Kokietgym would come in the seventh and eleventh rounds before the ref called the fight.
If these seven knockdown showed anything, it’s that you can bend Salido’s will, but you can never break it.
CORRECTED REF MISTAKE ADDS TO KOKIETGYM’S WORLD OF HURT: From the sixth round forward, Kokietgym was on the worst end of nearly every exchange. Salido’s power and pressure had him tearing into Kokietgym like a rabid dog. The body assault sapped Kokietgym of the force on his counter shots. The beating also robbed his legs of mobility, making Salido’s seek and destroy mission much easier.
Kokietgym was taking an assortment of unreturned shots against the ropes when referee Eddie Claudio jumped in, leading Salido and many in the crowd to believe the fight had been halted before the sixth round bell. Claudio quickly realized he had stopped the action early, thinking he heard the timekeeper’s bell. The action resumed with less than 10 seconds left, allowing the Thai fighter to survive.
The reprieve only made Kokietgym’s fate more painful and brutal. Salido would batter and rearrange Kokietgym’s features from rounds 7-11, unleashing a barrage of hooks to close the show and leave Kokietgym motionless on the canvas.
WOULD YOU HAVE CALLED IT?: Since Kokietgym scored a few knockdowns and hurt Salido repeatedly within the bout’s first six rounds, I can see why the referee would be reluctant to call the fight. With that said, it was very clear what was happening over the last few rounds. If I was in Kokietgym’s corner, I’m pulling him out after that ninth round. Kokietgym’s punches weren’t having the same effect while Salido appeared to get stronger every minute.
SALIDO’S FUTURE AT SUPER FEATHERWEIGHT: Salido’s super featherweight run will likely be short and explosive. The aged warrior has numerous options that look to be exciting fights. Francisco Vargas, who just disposed of Juan Manuel Lopez a few months ago, would be another barnburner. Diego Magdaleno would embody the “young vs. old lion” motif. If Salido gets ranked by the other sanctioning bodies, that opens up more intriguing matchups against contenders like Sergio Thompson, Rances Barthelemy, and Javier Fortuna. And let’s not forget the Asian champs in Takashi Uchiyama (WBA) and Takashi Miura.
Mikey Garcia holds the WBO strap and a technical decision victory over Salido at featherweight. Since Garcia is currently embroiled in a contract dispute with his promoter Top Rank, the rematch is unlikely. Salido’s next bout could very well be a match for the vacant WBO belt due to Garcia being stripped. If that happens, the likely opponent is Francisco Vargas.