Orlando Salido isn’t the type to lounge around the house for long periods.
He can’t stay still, which is evident in his fighting style. Salido looks for the action by fighting inside, making him a fan-favorite boxer.
Salido produced the 2016 Fight of the Year against Francisco Vargas, a 12-round ring war that ended in a majority draw, and a fitting fight the night after Muhammad Ali’s death.
The Mexican warrior had two grueling matches against Roman Martinez in 2015, and Salido’s rugged approach handed Vasyl Lomachenko his only loss three years ago.
There’s nothing boring about Salido, and he likes to keep it that way even when he’s not in the ring.
When Salido isn’t feeling productive, he turns on his side-hustle app. Salido is an Uber driver in Phoenix.
“I get fed up being at the house,” he said. “I need to get out, and I enjoy it. Why not drive around and do something productive?”
Salido hasn’t had time to pick up passengers lately. He’s been busy training for his Saturday fight against Mickey Roman, an all-Mexican junior lightweight match that headlines an HBO Boxing After Dark tripleheader at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
On most nights, Salido is must-watch TV, especially when he’s fighting another Mexican who likes to trade. But Salido has competition with his old foe Lomachenko.
Lomachenko and Salido will enter the ring around the same time Saturday night. Lomachenko will be in New York for his ESPN-televised showdown against Guillermo Rigondeaux in a battle between two-time Olympic gold medalists.
Salido explained why his fight is better than Lomachenko’s.
“Who knows with those two, they’re very technical fighters,” Salido said. “They move around often, but I think it’s more of an amateur style fight that will come down to points.
“(Roman) and I are both warriors. Once we get inside the ring, you’re in for a real treat.”
Lomachenko is on top of many pundits’ best pound-for-pound lists because of his once-in-a-generation skills. But the Ukrainian wizard still hasn’t shaken off the loss to Salido.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who promotes Lomachenko, said the Lomachenko-Salido rematch could take place next if both fighters win Saturday.
“Arum knows what I want, and he has never come close to it,” Salido said about financial negotiations. “Lomachenko needs to avenge that loss to move on with his career, and he keeps doing big fights, but everyone always asks him about Orlando Salido.
“I’m more important to him than he is to me.”
Salido, 37, has had smaller purses than most fighters throughout his 21-year professional career. The fighter known as “Siri” is ready to cash in, and he has many opportunities for major fights.
Another option for Salido could be a second match with Vargas, who opens the HBO-televised card against Stephen Smith.
Salido also could reschedule his fight with WBC junior lightweight champion Miguel Berchelt, who was originally in the main event but pulled out because of injury.
“Fighting forward has got me to this point today,” Salido said. “I’ve thought about changing my style because of my age, but it’s too late. This is who I am. I don’t know any other way to fight.”
Vargas returns to Mandalay Bay
Vargas walked around the arena Wednesday where he first became a world champion, and the memories of his 2015 Fight of the Year came rushing back.
The Mexican fighter hit the canvas multiple times and had his eyebrows gushing with blood before staging a memorable comeback to knock out Takashi Miura in the ninth round during the Saul “Canelo” Alvarez-Miguel Cotto undercard at the Mandalay Bay Events Center two years ago.
Vargas, 32, returns to Las Vegas for the first time since then, but he won’t have the belt with him. He lost it in January in a knockout loss to Berchelt.
The fighter known as “El Bandido” said he was mentally and physically drained for the Berchelt fight after back-to-back brawls against Miura and Salido.
“I overtrained, and I wasn’t mentally there,” Vargas said. “I needed a break, and I’m ready now. I want to avenge my loss with Berchelt first, then settle my tie with Salido.”
Vargas decided to take a tuneup fight first because he didn’t know how his eyebrows would hold up after needing surgery to close the wounds.