HBO Boxing Preview: Three Title Fights in One Night from The Garden


By: William Holmes

HBO will be televising three compelling bouts to open up their Boxing After Dark series for 2013 on Saturday Night from Madison Square Garden in New York City. Orlando Salido will be fighting Mikey Garcia in the main event in a featherweight title bout. The much talked about Gennady Golovkin will be facing the resurging warrior Gabriel Rosado in the middleweight division, and Rocky Martinez and Juan Carlos Burgos will be the opening bout in the super featherweight division.

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Orlando Salido Arrives in NYC – ChrisFarina/Top Rank

All three fights are competitive and intriguing bouts, and the following is a preview of those televised fights.

Roman “Rocky” Martinez (26-1-1) vs. Juan Carlos Burgos (30-1); WBO Super Featherweight Title

The opening bout of the night will have huge implications in the super featherweight division as both Juan Carlos Burgos and Rocky Martinez are young promising fighters in similar stages of their careers. This is also a classic Puerto Rico vs. Mexico matchup.

Burgos is five years younger than Martinez and will have a slight reach and height advantage. He fights as an orthodox and has an impressive twenty KO/TKO’s out of his thirty victories. He’s currently riding a five fight win streak, and the only loss of his career came against Hozumi Hasegawa in 2010 for the WBC Featherweight title. His loss against Hasegawa occurred in Hasegawa’s home country of Japan.

Burgos’ last victory was over the undefeated Cesar Vazquez in July of this year. He stopped Vazquez in the third round. His other notable victims include Cristobal Cruz, Luis Cruz, and Frankie Archuleta.

Rocky Martinez has received more hype than Burgos from the boxing media and he began boxing professionally when he was 19 years old. Martinez has also been fighting in the super featherweight division since 2006, considerably longer than Burgos, and is better suited for this weight class.

Martinez has 16 KO/TKO’s on his record and is known for his exciting style. He originally won the WBO Super Featherweight Title by defeating Nicky Cook in 2009, but he later lost it to Ricky Burns by a very close decision in 2010, despite knocking Burns down in the first round and fighting Burns in his home country.

Martinez has only fought twice since 2010, not nearly enough for a young fighter looking to reclaim a championship. He’s currently riding a two fight win streak, including a TK over Daniel Attah and a close split decision victory over Miguel Beltran Jr. in September of this year.

This is going to be a close and exciting fight and an excellent matchup for the first fight on the Boxing After Dark telecast. Martinez should be able to pull out a close decision victory.

Gabriel Rosado (21-5) vs. Gennady Golovkin (24-0); WBA Middleweight Title

Gabriel Rosado has received a considerable amount of exposure in the past year thanks to the NBC Sports Network Deal that Main Events and Peltz Boxing Promotions inked in the past year. Rosado would likely have never received a title shot on HBO if he was never on the NBC Sports Network.

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Gabriel Rosado

But don’t let Rosado’s record deceive you; he’s a very hot and very dangerous contender. He’s stopped 13 of his opponents and he has impressively stopped five of his last six opponents. He’s your stereotypical Philadelphia fighter, he’s not afraid to sit in the pocket and exchange and is willing to fight anyone, anywhere.

He’s defeated Sechew Powell, Jesus Soto Karass, Keenan Collins, and Jamaal Davis since 2011. He has also defeated former title contender Kassim Ouma. His last loss was a close majority decision to Derek Ennis in 2010. He has also fought and lost to top ranked contenders such as Alfredo Angulo and Fernando Guerrero.

However, staying active and fighting on national television has done wonders for Rosado as he has shown considerable improvement in the ring every time he fights.

His opponent, however, is one of the best boxers in the world. Golovkin possesses a deep amateur background and represented Kazakhstan in the 2004 Olympics, winning the silver medal. He’s defeated fighters such as Andre Dirrell, Lucian Bute, and Andy Lee when he competed as an amateur.

He is currently promoted by K2 Promotions and has had trouble landing a big name fight in the middleweight division. He’s a very good fighter but is not well known and has been avoided by almost all of the top fighters in the middleweight division.

Golovkin is thirty years old and is in the midst of his prime. He won the interim WBA Middleweight Title in 2010 by knocking out Milton Nunez in Panama in the first round, and he became the WBA Middleweight Champion by knocking out Nilson Julio Tapia in the third round four months later.

He’s defeated the likes of Kassim Ouma, Lajuan Simon, and Grzegorz Proksa as a middleweight champion. His last bout against Proksa was his first fight on US soil, and he absolutely wowed the crowd with a thrilling 5th round TKO. He looked like a true and deserving champion.

Golovkin has all the credentials as an amateur to become an all-time great, but he has yet to face or defeat anyone the boxing public knows. If he wants a big time fight he’s going to have to impressively stop Rosado on HBO.

Rosado won’t make it easy for Golovkin, but Golovkin has too much to lose and will stop Rosado on Saturday night.

Orlando Salido (39-11-2) vs. Mikey Angel Garcia (30-0); WBO Featherweight Title

Salido is another boxer who is much better than his record suggests. He’s currently 32 and only has a few years left of boxing in his prime, but he has been on a tear since his upset over Juan Manuel Lopez in 2011.

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Salido is durable and can take a punch. He has 11 defeats, but they have come against the likes of Yuriorkis Gamboa, Cristobal Cruz and Juan Manuel Marquez. He actually defeated current welterweight champion Robert Guerrero, but that result was overturned when Salido tested positive for steroids.

Salido has only had three losses since 2004. A majority of his losses came early in his career when he was a young and inexperienced boxer. Since Salido’s decision loss to Gamboa in 2010 he has had five straight stoppages.

Salido is a warrior and a very dangerous opponent for Garcia. He has discovered some serious power in his hands towards the later stages of his career and has already derailed the career aspirations of one former young champion, Juan Manuel Lopez.

Mikey Garcia has an impressive amateur background and also comes from a famous boxing family. He will be seven years younger than his opponent and will have a slight reach and height advantage. He is one of Top Rank’s prized fighters and he will have to bring his best into the ring on Saturday to defeat Salido.

Garcia is also known for his knockout power, 26 of his 30 victories have come by way of stoppage. Garcia has stopped his last eight opponents. He’s defeated the likes of Jonathan Victor Barros, Bernabe Concepcion, Rafael Guzman, and Matt Remillard.

Garcia, however, has never faced anyone with the experience of Salido.

It almost seems certain that this fight will end in a stoppage since both fighters are known for their knockout power. Salido will try to test the chin of Garcia early, since Garcia has never faced a knockout puncher like Salido. If Garcia can stick to boxing and avoid a wild brawl, he should be able to pull off the victory, but just one punch from Saldio can end this fight quickly.

However, Garcia will have his brother Roberto Garcia in his corner, and his brother will likely be able to keep him focused and disciplined in the ring. As long as Garcia sticks to his gameplan, he’ll be victorious.

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