Jerry Glick reporting: Bob Arum rolled into the Theater at Madison Square Garden for the final press conference for his ocean deep Top Rank show featuring three championship fights. The best thing about the show is that the three main events are all competitive.
Undefeated WBA/IBF World Middleweight Champion, Gennady “”GGG” Golovkin, 24-0 (21 KOs), from Kazakhstan, defends his belts against streaking Philly fighter, “King” Gabriel Rosado, 21-5 (13 KOs), who after a spotty record has run off seven wins in a row.
Roman “Rocky” Martinez, 26-1-1 (16 KOs), faces Juan Carlos Burgos, 26-1-1 (16 KOs), in the first defense of his WBO Super-Featherweight title, and in the main event, veteran WBO Featherweight Champion, Orlando Salido, 39-11-2 (27 KOs), defends against Miguel Angel “Mikey” Garcia, 30-0 (26 KOs), plus seven undercard fights including unbeaten local stars, Glen Tapia, Seanie Monaghan, and a few more undefeated youngsters, Isa Akberbayev, Mikael Zewski, Tony Harrison, Felix Verdejo, and Ronald Ellis, to round out a ten bout card.
The Martinez-Burgos fight is very evenly matched, and the Garcia-Salido encounter could go either way; it would be quite an upset if Rosado beats Golovkin. All are confident of victory.
Fighting at the Garden still impresses those who have not done it before. Even the somewhat stoic eastern European Golovkin knows that the Garden is the pinnacle for any boxer.
“I am happy,” said Golovkin. “It is my dream to fight at Madison Square Garden, the best arena in the world. Good atmosphere, good people.” That says it all for everyone fighting Saturday night.
Salido, a former IBF Featherweight titlist, has faced some of the best at his weight, but this will be his debut at the big venue after a 53 fight career.
Has his 17 year pro career that began with a loss by TKO in 1996, slowed him down at all?
“I think I feel better now,” said Salido. “I can do a lot of things now that I couldn’t do when I first started out.”
In Mikey Garcia he has in front of him a hungry, tough kid, that Salido intends to overwhelm and use pressure to keep him from having time to think, “I don’t want him to feel comfortable in the ring. I want him to know that he’s in a fight.”
That is probably the best thing for the older (32 to 25) man to do. He needs to nullify Garcia’s speed. “All of his opponents have let him think in the ring,” said the Champion. “I won’t let him do that.”
“Although he’s a technician,” said Salido of Garcia. “He doesn’t move much in the ring. I once I get on top of him I think I’ll be able to make him fight.”
He has fought Juan Manuel Lopez, Yuriorkis Gamboa, and Robert Guerrero among others. “I have fought some of the best fighters in the world and that makes me more confident. I know I have the qualities to beat him. I know how hard I worked to prepare myself, and I know I have the experience.”