Orlando Salido vs. Juan Manuel Lopez II
I see a lot of fights during the weekend. Some are good, some are bad -- but few make me feel humbled. Salido-Lopez II was truly humbling to watch.
Let's lay out the facts. The unheralded Salido fought the undefeated and highly-regarded Lopez last year in Puerto Rico. He took Lopez's belt by TKO victory. The first fight was such an upset, many dismissed the results as due to Lopez' divorce that happened concurrently.
Indeed, despite being champion, Salido was the underdog going into the rematch. Rather than defending his belt in Mexico (where he's from) he returned to Puerto Rico. The crowd was against him, the judges were against him, and bookies were against him.
But Salido knew something everyone else did not. Lopez was his to exploit. Though Lopez defeated better fighters than Salido, Salido just happened to have the secret recipe for Lopez' demise. To win against Lopez, Salido needed to do three things:
- Hit Lopez with the overhand right
- Coax Lopez into a brawl
- Knock Lopez out
Salido did not execute his game plan perfectly. He came close several times to getting knocked out himself. What follows is a modern fight classic filled with drama, unexpected turns, and one of the most beautifully brutal rounds of all time.