On 1 March, 2014, Vasyl Lomachenko suffered his one and solely skilled defeat – to veteran, Orlando Salido.
The consequence stands as a weird blemish on the pound-for-pound king’s magnificent 13-1-Zero report and it’s comprehensible that many who weren’t watching that night time could not perceive fairly how such a uniquely proficient boxer may very well be crushed by a person who’d already suffered 12 losses.
Coming into the bout, Lomachenko was making an attempt a record-breaking feat by difficult to change into the primary fighter in historical past to win a world title in simply his second skilled contest.
Thailand’s Saensak Muangsurin was the person to beat, together with his report of successful the WBC super-lightweight belt in his third professional battle standing sturdy since 1975.
In his stellar newbie profession earlier than turning over, Loma gained gold medals at two Olympic video games and put collectively an astonishing report of 397 fights, 396 wins and only one defeat (which he avenged twice).
This gave the Ukrainian confidence that he’d be capable of storm into the professional ranks and rapidly dominate there as properly – the problem was set.
When he agreed to show professional, Lomachenko was supplied a seven-figure signing bonus by promoters High Rank, nevertheless, he turned it down and as a substitute demanded a title bout on his debut.
As a result of means the game works in fashionable instances, he wanted at the least one win to achieve a rating earlier than difficult a champion, so the then 25-year-old knocked out Jose Ramirez and bought a shot in his second battle as a substitute.
The focused champion? Orlando ‘Siri’ Salido.
Salido at this stage was an ageing fighter at 33, however nonetheless a featherweight world titlist who had been round for a very long time and seen all of it.
Regardless of coming in with a report of 40 wins, 12 losses and two attracts, it’s value noting that a lot of the Mexican’s defeats occurred inside the embryonic levels of his profession.
In stark distinction to Loma, Salido turned professional in his homeland on the age of simply 15 and, by the point of his 24th battle, had 14 wins to his title, eight losses and two attracts – successfully the report of a journeyman.
As he gained maturity, he turned his profession round and have become a three-time world champion, although additionally nonetheless labored as an Uber driver in his spare time in Mexico as he discovered it to be ‘an gratifying solution to keep busy.’
Salido gained his third world title on the identical present that noticed Lomachenko make his skilled debut, and this was no coincidence as they had been subsequently matched up.
Controversy started to brew on weigh-in day.
The Ukrainian challenger comfortably made weight underneath the 126lbs restrict as he got here in at 125¼lbs, whereas the Mexican champion clocked a whopping 128¼lbs.
This meant that Salido had a few hours to aim to lose the extra 2¼lbs and maintain his title, however as a substitute he instantly began ingesting to rehydrate and made no effort to take action, explaining this is able to be his final battle at featherweight and he didn’t need to deplete himself additional.
In consequence, he was stripped of his WBO title and the belt was now solely on the road for Lomachenko if he emerged victorious.
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Lomachenko wore 20ouncesgloves and ankle weights however was nonetheless ‘so laborious to hit’
Come the next night time, the load questions grew additional.
In simply over 24 hours, Salido rehydrated as much as 147lbs and entered the ring with an enormous dimension benefit over the 136lbs Lomachenko.
Because the champion walked to the ring on the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, HBO broadcaster Max Kellerman declared: “I feel greater than something what his not even making an attempt to make weight, after weighing in heavy, reveals Salido regards Lomachenko as his most tough problem.
“He should really feel that he can’t afford any drawback and actually wants a bonus, weighing in heavier than the load class allowed, with a view to compete with Lomachenko.”
As quickly as the primary bell rang, the dimensions distinction between them was evident, nevertheless this was not the one telling issue.
Many rounds of the battle had been powerful to attain, particularly early on, as Lomachenko’s newbie type had not but totally transitioned into the professional ranks.
Regardless of starting on the again foot, Salido quickly started to successfully goal the physique and push his opponent again.
The Mexican utilised each roughhouse tactic within the guide to make Lomachenko really feel as uncomfortable as attainable always and refused to permit him to seek out his pure rhythm.
By the halfway level after six rounds, you could possibly have simply had the bout degree or ‘Siri’ barely in entrance.
Across the identical time, followers and broadcasters started to note a brand new theme rising within the contest – Salido’s unlawful low blows.
A lot maligned referee Lawrence Cole appeared fully oblivious between rounds 4 to 6 because the 33-year-old started to smash the Ukrainian in his most weak space on a number of events.
Maybe naively, Loma opted to not complain and so Salido was allowed to get away with what commentator Jim Lampley mentioned on the time was ‘a graphic piece of professionalism’.
Different have since branded it ‘soiled techniques’.
Within the second half, a particular fighter was made to look unusual at instances.
Lomachenko was criticised for his persistent holding – an try to stop Salido from engaged on the within – and was unable to indicate clear superiority between him and his opponent.
With 4 rounds remaining, the bout was starting to appear to be it was within the veteran’s palms, prompting Lampley so as to add: “That is the rationale why most sizzling prospects coming into skilled boxing get an 8/12/15/20 battle skilled apprenticeship.
“To study all of these nuances earlier than they get right into a battle like this.”
Lastly, referee Cole issued a few warnings to Salido for his relentless low blows, however with time trickling away and no factors deductions forthcoming, Lomachenko knew he’d should take issues into his personal palms.
Previous to the bout, many questioned the Ukrainian’s endurance given the very fact he was used to the far shorter fights of the newbie code and semi-pro WSB tournaments.
Regardless of this, he got here on sturdy with sharp counters within the eleventh and had Salido holding on to purchase time.
Every thing was arrange for a dramatic last spherical, and this was most actually delivered.
Neither man had been damage at any level within the contest as much as the twelfth, however this was all about to vary.
With simply over a minute remaining, the 136lbs man caught the 147lber with a straight left coming in and badly wobbled him.
Salido desperately held whereas Lomachenko, spurred on by his nook, pursued a surprising end.
Nonetheless, this by no means got here and the Mexican was in the end saved by the bell earlier than cut up resolution scorecards had been learn out in his favour: 115-113, 113-115, 116-112.
Regardless of the weigh-in shenanigans, low blows and cut up resolution, Lomachenko made no excuses.
“I did my finest, I actually tried,” he mentioned in his speedy post-fight interview, “However it didn’t work out.
“I don’t wanna say something concerning the judges, I’m a fighter and my job is to battle.
“I don’t like soiled fights, I’m a straight fighter, I’m clear. I don’t like that type of combating and that’s why I didn’t need to hit him again under the belt.
“I didn’t strive to think about it [the weight], I believed I may beat him even when he was a much bigger fighter than me.”
Salido’s obese triumph meant the WBO featherweight title turned vacant and, due to the controversy that hung over their battle, Lomachenko was ordered to compete for it once more in his very subsequent bout.
Three and a half months later, the now 26-year-old gave a one-sided boxing lesson to a phenomenally proficient American, Gary Russell Jr, and hasn’t regarded again since.
The expertise Loma picked up in his defeat to Salido proved invaluable and he’s now a totally adjusted skilled with world title victories in three weight divisions.
Within the years that adopted, there was typically speak of a rematch between Lomachenko and Salido at super-featherweight, nevertheless it by no means materialised.
Salido is now retired and can perpetually maintain a win over the person who has change into boxing’s pound-for-pound king.