Over the years, certain fighters had the unique ability to guarantee action as soon as the bell rang. Most of these warriors demonstrated a distinct disdain for defense and that, perhaps, was the key to their “style.”
Tony Zale was the quintessential example. Much later, Arturo Gatti hit the scene and spine-tingling, fan-friendly action would start from the get-go. A young Tony Ayala dispensed with his great technical skills and began the stalk as soon as the bell rang. Action was guaranteed.
Ruslan Mikhailovich Provodnikov was another but like so many of this breed, he would pay a price at the end as he is no longer able to sustain the give-and-take and grueling exchanges. Pawel “Raging Bull” Wolak needed to be saved from himself — a sure sign of the type of fighter being described here. Japan’s Takashi Miura also fills the bill as does New Yorker Cletus Seldin who was recently exposed as lacking technical skills—but not heart.
Retired Australian Michael Katsidis never disappointed the fans but he, too, paid dearly for his all-action, incoming style. Quarry, Shavers, Lyle, and the first version of Foreman showed that heavyweights could guarantee rock and roll as well, but no heavyweight in history (though some might mention Jack Dempsey) could guarantee predatory action like a prime Mike Tyson. The crowd was up and screaming during the referee’s instruction and didn’t let up until Mike had destroyed another opponent. And who can ever forget Matthew Saad Muhammad? There were many others but the aforementioned reflect a representative sample of this genre.
Orlando Salido Rivera, known as “Siri,” may be the last of the aforementioned all-action, incoming fighters, although there are some Japanese boxers who might claim otherwise.
Salido started slowly in 1996 at the young age of 15. After his first 15 fights, his record was a non-attention grabbing 8-6-1 including 5 KO losses, but that was then. Things began to change in 2000.
In fact, Siri had not been stopped from March 2000 until his final career fight against Miguel “Mickey” Roman (57-12) at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas on December 9, 2017. Román, who is a younger version of Salido, took control early and decked the veteran in round 4. A three-punch combination did it again in the 8th round. Then, in round 9, Román unloaded shots on a defenseless Siri who was pinned against the ropes. The old warrior dropped down onto the canvas bloodied and bruised and was done–the first time Salido had been stopped in over seventeen years!
“As they say, father time is undefeated. All the wars I had caught up with me. I am leaving the ring knowing that I gave the fans as great a fight as I can give them. I hope they enjoyed it. The mind and heart were there, but my body just was not responding. Roman is a young fighter who gave his all, and I was not able to keep up with him. I [am] just an old fighter now,” said Siri after his loss to Roman.
He has since had a change of heart about calling it quits, but for his own good and that of his family, he should retire forthwith.
The Essence of Salido
We can talk about Siri’s resiliency (not unlike that of Juan Manuel Marquez’s) recovering from a knockdown to come back and wear down an emotionally depleted opponent in one of his many Fight-of-the Year–type bouts.
Or we can talk about his non-stop, no let-up pressure that discouraged so many opponents in the late rounds.
But to truly understand this throwback warrior, it’s necessary to examine his eye-popping level of opposition. The list includes names like Yuriorkis Gamboa, the aforementioned Marquez, a future Hall of Famer, Cristobal Cruz (twice), Juan Manuel Lopez whom he stopped twice in Juanma’s home Island of Puerto Rico, the highly ranked Mikey Garcia, Robert Guerrero (his dominant win over Guerrero was overturned, as Salido tested positive for steroids after the fight), Roman “Rocky” Martinez (twice), Kenichi Yamaguchi, Francisco Vargas in a fight that was named the 2016 Fight of the Year by several media outlets, and mismatched Puerto Rican Orlando Cruz. Even his second tier of opponents raised eyebrows.
After dispatching Cruz, Siri defeated Vasyl Lomachenko in Hi-Tech’s second professional bout. While the win was controversial with Salido pulling every trick in the book including low blows, butts, elbows, and coming in visibly overweight, he showed it was no fluke by defeating tough Thai boxer Terdsak “Pitbull” Kokietgym in his very next fight for the WBO interim super featherweight title. In an incredible fight that saw Salido dropped three times and Kokietgym decked four times, the mayhem was finally stopped after Kokietgym was knocked down and out in round 11. (Kokietgym was 53-4-1 going in and is now 62-5-1).
Then, after years of phone-booth fighting in which he was decked more times than one can count but got up to win, Siri Salido finally met a younger, mirror image of himself in Mickey Roman and all the wars caught up with him. He was taken out, leaving him with a deceptive record of 44-14-1 (not unlike that of the legendary fellow Mexican Kirino Garcia who also started slowly but finished strong).
He leaves with a legacy of being a multiple-time former world champion in two weight classes, having held the IBF featherweight title in 2010; the WBO featherweight title twice between 2011 and 2014; and the WBO interim super featherweight title from 2014 to 2015. But maybe the thing that will be remembered most is that when he fought the fans were guaranteed full-tilt boogie action every round. Perhaps there is another “Siri” Salido on the way, but if there is, he or she had better bring the heat.
Ted Sares is one of the oldest power lifters in the world and is a four-time winner of the EPF’s Grand Master championship. He also is a member of Ring 4’s Boxing Hall of Fame.
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