Saludar, sans trainer and manager, yields world title in Puerto Rico
MANILA, Philippines –The only way Vic Saludar could have salvaged his World Boxing Organization minimumweight title was for him to knock out Wilfredo Mendez. Saludar fell short with only a knockdown to boot.
Fighting in Puerto Rico, without his trainer and manager, Saludar yielded the crown via a wide unanimous decision despite dropping Mendez with a left hook in the 3rd round.
The scores were 117-110, 116-111, 115-112, all for the hometown hero, in the headliner of the fight card held at Puerto Rico Convention Center in San Juan on Saturday, August 24 (Sunday, August 25, Philippine time).
“Saludar gave a good fight, but the circumstances were against him,” said Jojo Palacios, Saludar’s trainer who was unable to secure a working visa to Puerto Rico, in a phone interview on Sunday.
Kenneth Rondal, Saludar’s manager, was also unable to go as his father underwent brain surgery recently.
Palacios requested his friend Bobby Villaber to man Saludar’s corner.
According to Palacios, they have no option but to go on with the fight as it was a mandatory defense and Saludar would be stripped of his title if they declined to fight.
Fight organizers also saw to it that Saludar would arrive late.
But from what he saw via Facebook live, Palacios said Saludar did enough to win.
“It’s really different without me by his side. He needed my guidance and he was used to the sound of my voice when he was fighting,” said Palacios.
The loss dropped the 28-year-old Saludar’s record to 19-4 with 10 knockouts.
Mendez climbed to 14-1 with 5 knockouts and became Puerto Rico’s lone reigning boxing world champion.
Palacios said Saludar will be returning home on Tuesday.
“We’ll let him rest for a while and then evaluate where his career will be heading. He’s still young, he’ll bounce back." – Rappler.com