[Interview] Orlando Salido vs. Mikey Garcia: Trial By Fire
The age-old storyline in boxing is the young up and coming contender meeting the challenge of the old, grizzled champion. You hear it many times these days phased as the young lion seeking to dethrone the “lion in winter.” Well, take one look at WBO featherweight champion Orlando Salido and see if “old lion” is the first phrase that pops in your head.
What Mikey Garcia faces tomorrow night (January 19) on HBO Boxing After Dark is not an older fighter ready for the taking, but a renewed veteran on one of the best run of his career. Since dropping a decision to Yuriorkis Gamboa in 2010, Salido has been a five-fight win streak that includes brutal beatdown stoppages over the likes of Juan Manuel Lopez (2X), Weng Haya, Kenichi Yamaguchi, Moises Gutierrez. And to compound the formidable obstacle in front of him, Garcia as a finesse boxer-puncher is facing a style-clash with the in your chest, bruising pressure game plan that Salido brings every fight.
With a little over 24 hours left before the ring reveals the truth of who is the better man, Garcia and Salido give their last thoughts on what could be the first Fight of the Year contender for 2013.
Getting Ready for Salido
We worked a lot of speed, agility and footwork because we feel that’s our advantage over him. We have a better chance of beating him by outboxing him and outspeeding him every round of the fight. I also worked on strengthening my legs and training my core body. We know he’s a very tough fighter and we may have to be stronger than previous fights to sustain his aggressive attacks and the pressure he applies.
How to Not End Up Like Juan Manuel Lopez If He Has to Fight Inside
I will do that if I have to — if I hurt him and I see him breaking down or getting tired. If so, I’ll put the pressure on him. If not I plan on moving around the entire night.
The Importance of Strength and Conditioning Coach Darryl Hudson for This Fight
It does count. It’s extra work but you feel stronger afterward. And that translates to speed and stamina. We did a great job on this.
What Salido may be underestimating.
Because of my power, he may not see the super fast hands or the overall speed (of my punches). I have speed in my hands, good footwork, and good defense, a little bit of everything. Those are my advantages over him.
Salido Compared to Past Opponents.
He’s very different from anyone I’ve faced. He’s very aggressive but can box too. Past guys like Concepcion and Barros had the ability to pressure me but decided to stay on the outside and change the way the fight went. They didn’t show up to brawl. With Salido, I have to prepare for the possibility of that as well.
Mentality-wise as a fighter, do you resemble your father or your brother more?
[Laughs] I don’t know. My Dad focuses on defense a lot. During the fight he wants more aggression and my brother gets excited like that as well, maybe a little more. It takes a round or two more for me to step on the gas, usually. I’m honestly not sure; I take things from both.
Using a Particular Salido loss for your blueprint.
He lost to the best in the division so there’s not one that stands out as the game plan for me. All of them were a few years back. I prefer to look at his recent big fight wins for strategy. Although he has 11 defeats, a lot of them were very early in his career.
The Perfect 2013
Become world champion Saturday night. It’s up to the promoters, but I want to unify the titles and give opportunities to the up and coming fighters.
As a Boardwalk Empire fan, which character would sum up your style in the ring?
[Laughs] On Boardwalk? It would be hard since they’re a lot of characters trying to come up. But I don’t want to say one because a lot of them end up being killed!
Why Garcia can’t handle his pressure.
I’ve seen lots of his fights and he doesn’t like up close, pressure fighting. He’s a very good fighter when you stay on the outside and don’t pressure him. But this fight I’m going to come right at him and get right in his face. He’ll have to try and do something about it.
What he learned from the Gamboa loss that’s driven his five fight win streak.
I didn’t feel I was really well-prepared for that Gamboa fight. The last few fights I’ve completely matured as a fighter. I’ve learned how to eat properly and keep the weight off. This is key as I’m not fighting to make the weight.
If Garcia Can Last as Long as JuanMa Lopez did in a Slugfest.
I’ll make him fight that way to find out. It’s up to me to cut off the ring, keep him in front of me, and see to it he fights that way. I’ll find out.
The importance of body shots to beating Garcia.
The body punches will be what slows him down. We going to focus a lot on the body. Once he slows down I’ll take advantage of that by going upstairs for the finish.
ORLANDO “Siri” SALIDO will defend his World Boxing Organization (WBO) featherweight title against undefeated No. 1 contender MIKEY GARCIA; undefeated World Boxing Association (WBA) / International Boxing Organization (IBO) middleweight champion GENNADY “GGG” GOLOVKIN will look to extend his reign into its third year against world-rated contender “King” GABRIEL ROSADO; and two-time WBO junior lightweight champion ROMAN “Rocky” MARTINEZ will put it all on the line when he goes mano a mano with No. 1 contender JUAN CARLOS “Mini” BURGOS. All three fights will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark®, Saturday, January 19, beginning at 9:45 p.m. ET/PT.