Exclusive Interview With Hot Prospect Dominic Salcido

Dominic SalcidoBy James Slater: Unbeaten super-featherweight/lightweight Dominic Salcido of California is a 24-year-old who sees himself as a future star of his sport. Currently 16-0(8), the confident boxer has so far proven too much for every opponent he has faced. Facing decent, if not too formidable, opposition, Salcido has recently began to get a name for himself.

Having suffered the misfortune of a broken right hand in early 2006 - an injury that came as he was streaking to 8-0 - Salcido came back well from his enforced period of idleness. With a pent-up desire to prove he was in no way deserving of being forgotten whilst inactive, the 24-year-old boxed no less than seven times upon his return in February of 2007.

Now ready to take a step up in class, the confident, yet not at all arrogant, prospect is convinced he will be a world champion soon.

How did he first get into boxing, I began by asking Dominic, as we spoke over the phone on August 8th.

'My dad,' Salcido replies. 'He took me to the gym, just for something different to do, and I really liked it. I was really into soccer before that, but I've been fighting ever since. I was ten when I first put the gloves on. Then I started, you know, messing around with the neighbourhood kids on the block - fighting them and stuff.'

Dominic tells me who his number-one boxing hero was at this time, and who his hero of the sport is today.

'Oscar De La Hoya,' he says, without any hesitation as I ask him. 'I watched every one of his fights. He was a great boxer, I loved watching him. Then, as I got older, say around 18, I got even more into it [watching boxing]. I followed the Olympics and got into a lot of other fighters. Sugar Ray Leonard became my favourite fighter. I think he was better than Oscar.'

Dominic then reminisced about his amateur career.

'I had something like 60-70 fights. I won local titles, like the Golden Gloves, but no national titles. I prefer the pro game much more. There's no comparison, really. The amateurs are just for learning, you can throw around a hundred punches a round. With the pros you take your time and learn to fight properly.'

The 24-year-old is in good hands when it comes to his trainer. He has also benefited from excellent sparring.

'I'm trained by Joel Diaz, the trainer of Timothy Bradley and the Diaz brothers, Julio and Juan. I spar with the Diaz brothers and Tim Bradley. We're in camp together right now. It's great sparring with world champions like these guys.'

When it comes to describing his fighting style, Dominic once again brings up the name of Leonard.

'Sugar Ray Leonard,' he says point-blank when I ask him to describe his ring style. 'I'm flashy and fast on my feet like Leonard was. My main thing is my footwork, that and my defence. My fast footwork is very eye-catching. I can hit hard enough. If I catch you I will hurt you. But I'm more of a flashy boxer with speed.'

So far, aside from the his injury, everything has gone pretty smooth as a pro. Has anyone tested him thus far?

'The last guy I fought, [Luis Antonio] Arceo ( a UD over 8 rounds in June of 2008) was probably the toughest so far. He was a tough veteran and he put the pressure on. The toughest thing so far in my pro career is my broken right hand, though (it was broken in 2006, Dominic tells me). I was out for almost a full year because of the hand. That was so frustrating for me, one of the worst periods of my life. It was devastating, having got going real well [as a pro], only to be on the sidelines for a year. Everyone forgot about me and that's why when I came back I had seven fights in 2007. I wanted to show everyone I was back, and that I was 100-percent. My goal was to have a fight a month and take on all comers. I won the WBC youth title [at super-featherweight] that year.

The unbeaten fighter assures me the hand is fine today.

'Yes, the right hand is totally fine now. It was about three years ago now that I broke it (actually March of 2006). I broke the metacarpal bone of my middle finger.

Dominic tells me about the big fight he has coming up against former Olympian and Golden Boy Promotions' Vincento Escobedo.

'I've wanted to fight this guy since the amateurs. We never crossed paths, but I really wanted to fight him. He was seen as the number one amateur in California and I always wanted him, to prove I was the best. I should be where he is today. I should be with Golden Boy. That's why I took this fight (September 26th), to get the opportunities he's been given. He's not taken any tough fights, he keeps saying he will, but he doesn't. His time's up now though, man! It will be a great fight between me and him. I expect a chess game. We're both boxers.'

Looking ahead, who else does Salcido want to fight in the future, I ask him. He is very straightforward (again) in his reply.

'I want to fight anybody from 1 to 10. I want to be the number one, and to do that you have to beat the best fighters out there. I want the fans to see my full skills when I fight. We need more skilful boxers today, boxers like Sugar Ray Robinson and Sugar Ray Leonard. Not just two brawlers in there.'

Dominic has boxed at both lightweight and super-featherweight. I asked him which is his natural weight class.

'I'm definitely a super-featherweight. I wouldn't say I'm a natural 130-pound fighter, but right now that's my division. I'm the bigger guy at 130 and I will definitely be a world champion at 130. This fight [with Escobedo] is up at lightweight, but I will definitely drop back down to 130 after I win. But in the future, a year or two from now, I may go back up to 135.'

As great a division as super-featherweight is right now, Salcido sees himself as the next star of the division

'I definitely see myself as the next star at 130, yeah. Either later this year, or early next year, I will be the world champion.'

Article posted on 10.08.2008

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