Salido vs. Cruz: Winner, Scorecard and Analysis
Orlando Salido knocked out Orlando Cruz in the seventh round Saturday night to claim the vacant WBO featherweight title.
Salido (40-12-2, 28 KOs) destroyed Cruz with a vicious right hook, then followed it up with a massive left uppercut to finish off the Puerto Rican.
With the win, Salido reclaims the championship belt he lost in January to Mikey Garcia.
After a tentative opening round, Salido increased his activity in the second, landing a big right hook to Cruz's face. From there, Salido began to pick Cruz apart with regularity.
He connected with a powerful left uppercut in the third round, then teed off on Cruz in the fourth. Not only was he the more aggressive fighter, but he was the stronger fighter, as his punches were clearly landing with more force than his opponent's.
Cruz improved in the fifth round, using his ring awareness and spacing to his advantage. His confidence appeared to grow as he shook off more blows from Salido, and he controlled the fight a little more.
However, Salido quickly ended Cruz's hopes, attacking his rib cage and wearing him down before delivering the knockout blows in the seventh. For the fight, Cruz landed just six body punches, while the Mexican registered 67.
Salido entered the bout as the bigger fighter, sporting a five-pound weight advantage. He also established himself as the harder puncher, visibly hurting Cruz throughout the fight.
It was an impressive win for Salido, who will potentially face Ukranian phenom Vasyl Lomachenko next. Lomachenko dominated Jose Ramirez in his pro debut, which also came on the Timothy Bradley-Juan Manuel Marquez undercard.
With the loss, Cruz drops to 20-3-1. This was a discouraging result for the 32-year-old, but after not backing down against the bigger Salido, he showed he is deserving of another high-profile fight in the future.
Much of the pre-fight hype focused on Cruz's sexual orientation. After coming out in October 2012, Cruz is the first (active) openly gay male boxer. To show his support for fellow members of the LGBT community, Cruz wore rainbow shorts. He also wore pink gloves to raise breast cancer awareness.
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