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.
Earlier today we got the latest "All-Filipino world title" fight as former WBO champion Vic Saludar (21-4, 11) clashed with the countryman Robert Paradero (18-1, 12) in a bout for the WBA "regular" Minimumweight title.
Although the bout was for a "secondary" title, and not for the main WBA belt, it was still a highly anticipated one with the contest being a chance to see what Saludar had left following a couple of disappointing recent performances and seeing what the completely untested Paradero had to offer the sport.
The early going saw an energetic but wild Paradero fighting aggressively but leaving himself open. He showed no fear of his more well established opponent, but also looked a bit like a man who had a lot of nervous energy to burn, and was firing off some very wild and crude shots. He was struggling to land clean, though at times Saludar failing to really punish him. The veteran managed to land some counters, but seemed to leave a lot of opportunities on the table in what was a conservative performance early on.
The main drama in the early rounds wasn't a shot from either man, but a headclash in round 2. It was, however, a minor drama with Paradero suffering a very small cut outside of his right eye. A cut that played absolutely no factor in the rest of the fight.
The conservative but smart approach from Saludar saw him having solid success in round 4 before hurting Paradero in round 5. To his credit Paradero got on his toes and saw out the round, despite being hurt. He then seemed to settle down well and through many of the middle rounds Paradero's crude, wild approach was tempered significantly, though this allowed the more slow, cerebral counter punching of Saludar to catch the eye more often. It was a stark change in tempo through the back end of the fight from Paradero who struggled to really show the same hunger.
Despite slowing down Paradero managed to have some really nice moments, particularly in the second half of round 9 where he boxed smartly, used his feet, and prevented Saludar from countering too much. Whilst he was having success we dare say that the change from Paradero told the judges that he was the one struggling, and needing to adapt, rather than making changes to suit himself. Potentially giving the impression that Saludar was having more success than he really was. It also allowed Saludar to come forward a lot, even if he wasn't really letting his hands go, again making it look like he was the one bossing the fight, even when he seemed to be following Paradero around the ring at times.
Going in to the final round it felt close, ad the commentary were suggesting that it was all to play for in round 12. Paradero started the round as if he knew it was close, landing a huge right hand, but then seemed to let things off the boil, show boating, looking over-confident, and really not doing a lot. He was caught in the round by a counter, that may well have stolen the round for Saludar.
After 12 rounds we went to the score cards and they were read out. 115-113, Saludar, 118-110, Paradero and then 116-112. The pause waiting for the winner saw Paradero yell in celebration, before the "Saludar" was read out, giving the veteran the split decision win.
The commentary had the bout even at 114-114.
If we're being honest we had this narrowly for Paradero. We preferred his energy and speed, though he was caught by a number of solid counter shots from Saludar and the difference in experience showed, a lot. He lacked a jab at times and his straight right hand wasn't accurate enough to get to the veteran.
For us Saludar simply didn't work enough at times, he was too conservative at times and as we said, he followed Paradero too much. In all honesty he looked old at times, and has certainly seen better days. He did however land the better single shots, his counters were good and he often sold the impression that he was the boss by pressing forward.
As for Paradero, there's a good fighter there, but someone who is clearly a work in progress and needs a lot of work if he's going to be a top, top divisional fighter.
For Saludar we suspect the plan is to move towards a bout with WBA "super" champion Knockout CP Freshmart. On this performance he wouldn't beat the undefeated Thai. As for Paradero the OPBF title or the WBO Asia Pacific title should be the focus for him over the next year or two as he looks to build on his experience. His inexperience was an issue and something that can be worked on over the coming years before he gets another bout at this level.
World Title Results
Whether you like them or not World Titles add prestige to any bout as a result we've included the results of world title bouts in this special section.