This Saturday's pay-per-view undercard for Mayweather-Mosley is really no better or worse than any major PPV undercard on paper. There are three fights, and all could have some good action, but a lot of fights could and then most of them don't. Why mince words?
We'll have three PPV undercard fight previews for you, and we'll start off with this one in the welterweight division.
Hector David Saldivia (33-1, 26 KO) v. Said Ouali (26-3, 18 KO)
Welterweights, 10 Rounds (WBA Eliminator)
Argentinean fighters are starting to spring up as legit guys a bit more than usual recently. We're slightly removed from the Walter Matthysse shellacking at the hands of Kermit Cintron. DiBella Entertainment's Sergio Martinez is the best of them all, leading the charge for a new generation of Argentinean hopefuls on the world's stages, but there's also Marcos Maidana and Lucas Matthysse, and now we have Hector David Saldivia coming up.
Saldivia, 26, has the KO rate that a lot of these guys bring up from their home country, but more importantly he has the suspect record that they pretty much all bring up. As Martinez and Maidana have shown, that can be much ado about nothing. Fighting in Argentina is sort of like fighting out of Thailand. Just because your record is fluff doesn't mean you're a hype job. Pongsaklek Wonjongkam and Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym continue to drive that point home, to pick two among the current Thai products. Maidana was an unknown before giving Andriy Kotelnik 12 hard rounds last year, which opened him up for his star-making fight against Ortiz. Since then, he's looked more and more like a beast at 140 pounds. And Martinez, now the world middleweight champion, has done nothing but impress since getting time on HBO after about 40 career fights of middling quality.
The guys on Saldivia's sheet are not world-class fighters. His lone loss came back in 2007 against Jorge Daniel Miranda, a fifth round TKO. Saldivia avenged that in 2008, knocking Miranda out in a minute and 41 seconds. Miranda has also been in twice with Jan Zaveck (NC-3 and L-KO-12), who currently holds the IBF's useless welterweight belt. His only fight off of Argentine soil came in March 2009, when he beat Indonesian Daudy Bahari in Saint Thomas.
So to say the least, Saldivia is a bit of an unknown commodity. I'm not saying he can't fight, I'm saying we don't know if he can. Most of the guys on his sheet, even the ones with decent-looking records, are bottom-feeders who have built those records by laying beatings on bad fighters. Saldivia has no YouTube footage, even. He's a mystery with a record that allows you to imagine what he might be -- but whether he's Marcos Maidana or Walter Matthysse, we'll find out.
30-year-old Ouali is a Moroccan who now lives in Las Vegas, so he'll be fighting in his adopted home city. He's also one of Roger Mayweather's "other" fighters. Ouali was seen by many on Showtime last year, when he fought Turkey's Selcuk Aydin in a mean-spirited fight that he lost by Adalaide Byrd-helped split decision, in a fight that was pretty clearly in Aydin's favor. But Ouali did fight until the final bell and hurt Aydin in the 12th round, so he's not a pushover by any means.
Ouali does have wins over guys like Grover Wiley, Sven Paris, Allen Conyers and Irving Garcia. His other two career losses came against Manning Galloway (2004) and Kermit Cintron (2001). The Cintron fight was the 11th of Kermit's career and just the eighth for Ouali, so clearly the people handling Ouali back then must not have thought much of his prospects. But here he is, a welterweight fringe contender fighting in an eliminator for the WBA belt, which is held by Shane Mosley, who will never fight either of these guys, so whatever. The fact that this is an eliminator by the WBA's standards is pretty ludicrous, but what am I saying? Hey, ring the alarm, a sanctioning body is doing something logically indefensible.
This is a fight, in my mind, that all hangs on what Saldivia is or isn't. If he's on the level of the other fine exports from Argentina recently, he'll beat Ouali. If he's not, Ouali might well just go ahead and win this fight. Ouali has some power, has a good trainer, and won't be out of his element in Vegas, which could be a problem for Saldivia if he freezes up or comes out tight under the big-time bright lights for the first time in his career.
My pure gut feeling is to believe in Saldivia's power and hunger. Ouali isn't a bad fighter, but he's nothing special, either. If he wins this fight, it's more, I regret to say, that Saldivia isn't very good than it is that Ouali has become a contender. Saldivia TKO-8