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Orlando Salido showed Vasyl Lomachenko all the slick tricks in the book in the TV opener of a Top Rank card, at the Alamodome in San Antonio Saturday night. Holding and hitting, hitting on the break, low blows galore, Salido sent notice from minute one that the pro ranks are a different brand of battle than the amateurs. He was aided by ref Laurence Cole, who left his glasses at home.

The scrap, a thorough and violent and perhaps eye opening introduction to the real rigors of the pros, ended with us going to the cards. The judges rewarded the vet, Salido, with a SD12 win, by scores of 115-113 (Loma), 116-112 (Salido) and 115-113 (Salido). The decision almost wasn't necessary, as Loma had Salido buzzed pretty bad in the 12th, but it was too little too late.

Salido went 142-645 to 164-441 for Loma.

After Salido said to Max Kellerman he knew the fight would be tough. He was asked if he felt offended that a newbie thought he could beat him. No, he said. He was a two-time gold medallist, and a true champ, the victor said. As for the weight, he said he's been at the weight, for 12 years, and he can no longer do it. Was he buzzed bad late? “He did hurt me,” he admitted.

Loma then spoke to Kellerman. The loser, who did well to compete with such a capable vet, but does slide back in the eyes of those who believed he was the second coming, was gracious in defeat. He was asked why he didn't return low blows. He explained that he is a clean fighter. As for Salido's size, Loma said that it is what it is.

Loma (26; from the Ukraine) was 125 1/4 and 136 on fight night, while Salido (40-12-2; age 33; from Mexico) was 128 1/4 on Friday, and was 147 on fight night.

Salido gave up his WBO 126 pound crown with the Scale Fail.

Loma, who started boxing at age 4 or 5, followed his dad's footsteps. He said he hopes for the safety of all the citizens of the Ukraine, not caring to take sides in the scary situation of upheaval in that region. “The worst part is, I can't do much about it,” he said. He fought six bouts and got paid for them, in the World Series of Boxing, so he's actually 6-0, not 1-0, in the eyes of many. Including me.

In the first, Loma's hand speed stood out. His corner told him to stay off the ropes, and relax after the round. Stick and move, said Loma's dad, his trainer.

In the second, Salido tried to land a power right, and served notice that he was there to do damage, even if his camp wasn't the most successful.

In the third, Loma moved a bunch, as Salido stalked. The action was slow to this point. In the fourth, Salido picked it up. His body work worked, and he was making it a rumble. Loma was mobile but didn't make that work for him as much as his backers would have hoped. He did land a hard right late.

In the fifth, Loma landed right hooks more. He looked to clinch several times, as he had in prior rounds. In round six, it was more evenly matched action.

In round seven, Salido kept on throwing and landing sneaky low blows. In round eight, Salido wasn't acting tired. He pressed forward, intent on pressing the issue, keeping pressure on the new pro.

In the ninth, Loma again looked a bit confused, what to do when he got close, hit, hold or move. His corner told him to avoid low blows after the round, instead of aiming that advice to the ref. In the tenth, Salido went down, but not off a knockdown. Was Salido fading? No, he kept winging.

In the 11th, Salido kept bulling forward. He dropped his head, and kept on tossing. High and low, but the ref seemed to have blinders on. It was not a sharp night for Laurence Cole. Salido held Loma's right arm as Loma tried to pull back, and landed a right…The vet has all the moves.

In the 12th, Jim Lampley called Cole a “dreadful referee.” He missed a bunch of Salido low blows. And Loma holding. A straight left hurt Salido late, and Salido had to hold to clear his head. Loma almost had him out. But we saw the final bell..


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