By Tom Donelson / Contributed to dmboxing.com since 2008
Renowed Boxing Writer / Member Boxing Writers Association
In the undercard of the Chavez-Vera fight featured former Olympic champ Vasyl Lomachenko in his second professional fight challenging the veteran Orlando Salido for the WBO featherweight. As for Salido, he was not ineligible for the title since he came into the fight overweight.
In the first round, Lomachenko moved but rarely punched and Salido didn’t set any records for throwing punches so this was a round hard to score. In the second round, Salido took advantage of his increase weight as he pushed the smaller Ukrainian fighter around.
Throughout the third and fourth round, Salido body shots bothered Lomachenko and Lomachenko rarely used his speed advantage. At the halfway point, Salido settled into a fight of attrition with a body attack designed to wear the inexperienced Lomachenko down whereas Lomachenko’s goal was to ensure that he could last the whole fight. HBO Harold Lederman favored Salido four rounds to two going into the second half of the fight.
During the seventh round, Lomachenko landed some combinations in the second half of the round as used his speed to connect on accurate punches. The eighth round was fought on the inside with benefitted Salido but after eight rounds, both fighters landed equal amount of punches.
Throughout the ninth round, Salido nailed Lomachenko with solid shots throughout the round and his thumping of Lomachenko won him the round and he continued this in the tenth round. In the eleventh round, Lomachenko unleashed his own power shots and for the first time, Salido looked like a tired fighter. Salido used every trick to upset Lomachenko attempt to change the momentum.
Going into the final round, Harold Lederman had Salido up by one round so this was still a pick-em fight. Lomachenko gave himself a shot to win the fight as he hurt Salido with a straight left with a minute left in the fight. From that point Lomachenko went after Salido but failed to knock him out. This left the fight in the hands of the referee. Salido won a split decision over the inexperienced Lomachenko, who showed in the last round that he learned the lesson from the previous eleventh round.
There were three things about this fight. The first thing, Lomachenko was not quite ready for a fight of this stature. Lomachenko was the better technical fighter but he lacked the experience to deal with the wily veteran Salido. The second thing was that Laurence Cole did a horrible job of refereeing this fight as he allowed Salido to throw one low blow after another without doing much about it and both fighters held more than they should have been allowed to get away. Finally, Salido forfeited his title when he showed no desire to come into this fight at the proper weight. This may have been by designed as Salido used his weight and strength to interrupt the superior technical skills of Lomachenko.
Lomachenko will be a good fighter and a possible elite fighter as he continued to gain experience but on this night, he didn’t quite have the experience to win this bout and this was a bout that experience and veteran wile defeated quickness and technical skills.
In the main event Julio Chavez faced Brian Vera a second time. In their first bout, Vera won the bout and unfortunately for Vera, the only people who thought he lost was Chavez’ family and the three judges who robbed him of a victory. Chavez came out of the box throwing punches as he decided not give Vera any
confidence that he could possibly win. In their first fight, he allowed Vera to outpunch him consistently and allowed Vera to nearly win a bout that he should have easily won in the ring. (The judges had Chavez winning by wide margins but in reality, he lost the fight in the ring and was granted a gift. )
What became obvious in round two is that while Vera was game and willing to exchange punches, it was Chavez throwing the harder punches. Vera threw more punches but Chavez was the more accurate with his punches. And both fighters exchanged power shots as Chavez nailed Vera with two big right hands but Vera came back with two big rights of his own in rounds that could have gone either way.
HBO Roy Jones observed that one of Vera weakness was not going to the body enough whereas Chavez invested in left hooks to Vera’s bodies. In the sixth round, both fighters went toe to toe and while Vera did very little body work, he did manage to connect on solid upper cuts that snapped Chavez head back.
Harold Lederman had Chavez ahead four rounds to two going into the second half of the fight. In the eighth round, Chavez even put his gloves down and inviting Vera to hit him. Over the second half of the round, Chavez pounded Vera with body shots. Nor did it help Vera cause that the referee deducted a point for holding Chavez head down.
As the fight wore on, Chavez got stronger and Vera started to wilt just slightly but at the end of the tenth round, Vera ended the round with a combination that forced Chavez to retreat in a round that he was losing. Vera showed toughness as Chavez buckled Vera with left hook and right hand but Vera came back to connect on a right of his own in the eleventh. Going into the final round, Chavez had victory in hand but Vera showed a warrior heart as he refused to fall under Chavez barrages. Chavez played a four corner offense as he moved out of harms’ way over the last three minutes and Vera spent the last round chasing Chavez.
This fight reminded fans of why Chavez is a crowd pleasing as he connected on more punches than Vera and showed the whole repertoire from left hooks and quick short right hand. Chavez landed the patented Chavez left hooks repeatedly and connected on nearly half of his punches. Chavez put himself back in contention for a big PPV fight. Vera is not an elite fighter but he is a tough fighter who is willing to give his all, regardless of competition.