Trainer Robert Garcia has a pretty good read on what Orlando Salido brings to the table at the Madison Square Garden Theater on the Top Rank-HBO show Saturday.
Robert has done his due diligence ahead of younger brother Mikey's clash against the featherweight titlist, watching ample tape of Salido. But Robert has an even more intimate basis of knowledge on Salido, because he has sparred with him.
Yep, the former IBF super featherweight champion, who boxed as a pro from 1992-2001, used Salido for sparring for his last fight, a TKO4 win over John Trigg in September 2001.
I asked Robert -- who, along with dad Eduardo, tutors Mikey -- if he recalls anything from the sparring which will help him devise a strategy for Mikey.
"No, that was so long ago," he said. "Salido was a young guy." Salido had already been a pro for five years, but yes, he has advanced far beyond that stage.
While I had Robert, I put him on the spot. "Forgive my directness ... but who is the better fighter, you at your best or Mikey?"
The amiable older brother thought for a moment. "I'm done fighting," he said. "I think he's way better. In my big fights I sort of turned into a brawler. Mikey fights smart."
Cameron Dunkin, who manages Mikey, piped in: "Robert was a helluva fighter. I remember he fought Julian Wheeler, gave him a helluva fight, and Juan Manuel Marquez destroyed Wheeler. But Mikey is special."