Saludar comes up short against Rosa
This past Tuesdays in the Dominican Republic fight fans had the chance to see a WBA "regular" Minimumweight title bout, as Filipino fighter Vic Saludar (21-5, 11) travelled to Santa Domingo and faced talented 21 year old Erick Rosa (5-0, 1). Sadly for Saludar it wouldn't be his night, at least not in the eyes of the judges.
From the off Rosa looked the quicker, smarter fighter, using the ring well, whilst Saludar looked to press from center ring. It didn't make for the most exciting of opening rounds, but both men certainly had moments, and it was clear where both fighters felt their strengths were and it was clear that Saludar was, by far, the heavier handed and the naturally stronger.
The pace slowly moved up a gear in round 2 as both got out of first gear and started to let their hands go more. It was again clear that Rosa wanted to be the boxer, creating space, luring Saludar into a mistake to counter. Saludar however maintained his concentration and brought a lot of intelligent, and patient, pressure. He refuses to give Rosa the openings the challenger wanted, and when he did land it heavy single shots from Saludar that caught the eye.
In round 3 one of Rosa's counter shots, an excellent left hand, sent Saludar to the canvas. He wasn't hurt, but he touched down, and it was a very clear knockdown in favour of the challenger.
Knowing he was down Saludar looked to turn things around, intensifying his pressure in round 4, and looked to make his physical traits count. This was where we really saw some of the smarted work from Sosa, who was forced to fight Saludar's fight but and had success. Despite the success of Rosa it was Saludar who caught the eye with his heavier blows. Sadly whilst Saludar's pressure through the middle of the rounds was solid, he remained the slower man and judges who liked the movement and speed of Rosa could easily have been scoring rounds for him, despite the better blows coming from the Filipino. There was, perhaps, a case to suggest that Saludar was following his man at times, rather than cutting the ring off, though he was still having plenty of success.
Sadly for Saludar he was ruled to have been knockdown a second time in round 9, although it certainly appeared more of a judo throw than a knockdown coming from a punch. Credit to Rosa however for the throw, which would have served him well had he competed as a Judoka in Tokyo this past summer. With a second 10-8 round against him, Saludar was in a hole, and he knew it, putting his foot on the gas again. This time Saludar had a break through, dropping Rosa in round 10 as his power showed it's self. Prior to the knockdown Rosa had been tagged a number of times, and it was clear that he didn't like tasting the power of Saludar, and after the knockdown he really got on his bike for the rest of the round.
Saludar looked to build on the knockdown in the final 2 rounds, but was unable to drop his man a second time, something he likely needed given the controversy in round 9. Sadly had it not been for that knockdown he would have retained his title with a split draw as the judges turned in scores of 113-112 and 116-109 to Rosa and 113-112 to Saludar.
Sadly for Saludar this is the second time he has lost a major fight in the America's, having also lost the WBO Minimumweight title to Wilfredo Mendez back in 2019. As for Rosa it was a good, albeit controversial, win, though it showed he is not ready for the top dogs in the division. Had this not been at home, and had the ridiculousness of Oscar Perez Carbonell scoring the bout, he would likely have come up short here. He isn't ready for the likes of WBA "super" champion Knockout CP Freshmart, though is clearly a promising young fighter, who has a lot of time to develop, mature and improve.
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