By: Lem Satterfield –
Three-time titlist Orlando Salido will defend his WBO junior lightweight title against two-time beltholder Rocky Martinez on April 11 at Coliseo de Puerto Rico in San Juan, promoter Peter Rivera of PR Best informed RingTV.com on Thursday.
“Salido is the champion and we believe that it’s a great, great fight,” said Rivera. “We are planning to make an announcement next week. This is an excellent fight for the new arena in San Juan.”
Called “a very exciting fighter” by Top Rank Promotions CEO Bob Arum, Salido (42-12-2, 29 knockouts) is coming off September’s 11th-round stoppage of Terdsak Kokietgym, representing Salido’s junior lightweight debut.
Salido earned the WBO’s belt with the win over Kokietgym but has since been elevated to full titlist status given that Mikey Garcia vacated the belt to move up in weight, according to organization President Paco Valcarcel.
Kokietgym was floored in the first, fourth, seventh and 11th rounds before referee Eddie Claudio waved an end to the bout at the 16-second mark of the 11th.
Entering the bout with Kokietgym, Salido, 34, was coming off a split decision victory over Vasyl Lomachenko last March, having already lost his WBO featherweight title on the scales prior to the fight.
Since losing his WBO title following a unanimous decision to Ricky Burns in Sept. of 2010, Martinez (28-2-2, 17 KOs) is 4-1-1 with two knockouts and has been involved in three split decisions, one being a draw.
Martinez, 32, regained the vacant belt with a split decision over Miguel Beltran Jr. in Sept. 2012, battled to the draw with Juan Carlos Burgos in Jan. 2013 and successfully defended his strap once again with a split decision over previously undefeated Diego Magdaleno in April 2013.
Martinez lost that title in his next bout in Nov. 2013 via eighth round stoppage loss to Mikey Garcia. In his most recent fight in December, Martinez knocked out Herbert Quartey in the second round.
“Martinez deserves a chance to become a champion for the third time in the same weight class,” said Rivera. “Salido is very popular in Puerto Rico, so this will be a super fight for Puerto Rico on that date.”