In a classic Old School vs. New School match up, gritty featherweight titleholder Orlando Salido -- less than one year removed from his fantastic rematch with Juan Manuel Lopez -- defended his crown against blue-chip prospect Mikey Garcia in the main event of HBO's first 2013 "Boxing After Dark" card.
While Garcia had displayed an uncommon blend of precision and concussive power, Salido supporters (myself included) hoped that his relentless pressure and grit would eventually wear down the relatively untested Garcia.
No such luck.
Things began about as disastrously as could be for Salido inside Madison Square Garden (MSG) in New York, N.Y., as Garcia put the knockdown-prone champion on the canvas twice in the opening round. It only got worse from there for Salido, who was soundly controlled by a powerful, accurate jab and dropped yet again in the third and fourth.
While "Siri" had his moments -- particularly in the sixth round when he managed to consistently force Garcia into the ropes and unload with wide combinations -- the fight belonged to Garcia effectively from start to finish. Things came to an abrupt end when an "accidental" Salido headbutt broke Garcia's nose, prompting the doctor to stop the fight after eight rounds, after which Garcia was rightly awarded a technical decision win.
Garcia showcased his great talent and Salido once more demonstrated that he is one of the toughest S.O.B.'s in boxing.
While the result of the second fight -- a middleweight clash between Kazakh juggernaut Gennady Golovkin and longtime junior middleweight Gabriel Rosado -- was never in doubt, Rosado did far better than anyone could have expected. Though he did succumb to Golovkin's thunderous power, getting his face carved up by the Olympian's killer jab and absorbing enough of a beating that his corner threw in the towel after seven, he did not shrink in the face of it. Like a true Philadelphia-trained fighter, Rosado fought his heart out, firing back even after getting badly rattled.
A fine effort from both men.
I don't want to talk about the opening fight. Juan Carlos Burgos laid down a body-centric beating on Roman Martinez that was often difficult to watch and the judges saw fit to call it a split draw. I won't discuss it further.
For quick results and play-by-play of the "Garcia vs Salido" proceedings on HBO click here.