By Jake Donovan
The comeback continues on for Glenn Donaire, who scored a 12-round decision over Omar Salado in a furiously paced 12-round affair Friday night at Auditorio Plaza Condesa in Mexico City.
Scores were 116-112, 118-111 and 115-113 in a terrific main event which aired on Telemundo.
Donaire’s comeback fight against 37-year old Alex ‘Nene’ Sanchez last December saw a former title challenger struggle early on before once again acclimating himself to the ring. Not at all the case in Friday’s headliner on the road, as Donaire dominated in the early going in serving as the aggressor while also boxing smartly in minimizing the incoming.
Salado never stopped coming forward but was unable to contend with Donaire’s speed and movement. The difference between boxer and slugger resulted in a massive gap in talent and effectiveness between the two as Donaire began piling on the rounds.
The tide momentarily changed in the fifth round, as Salado was able to work his way inside and get his punches off first. Donaire was still enjoying success, but slowly began losing momentum. The Californian bounced back strong in the sixth to conclude a dominant first half of action.
It was a tale of two fights, however, as the second half began to swing in favor of the hometown underdog. Salado applied heavy pressure in the back six rounds, with his attack picking up steam in the eighth round and never slowing down.
The final scorecards revealed that it was a bit too late, but it never discouraged Salado from trying. Sensing the tide turning, Donaire had no choice but to plant his feet and make a fight of it, as the angles he provided early on were no longer as effective.
While the surreal ninth round between Orlando Salido and Juan Manuel Lopez a week ago will remain the frontrunner for 2012’s Round of the Year for the time being, Donaire and Salado decided to have their say in that race with a sensational 11th round.
Both fighters let their hands go, throwing nonstop in a round that barely saw a clinch or referee intervention of any kind. Donaire threw caution to the wind for the first time in the fight, landing in combination upstairs but leaving himself open for all sorts of return fire from Salado, who was now backing up the Fil-Am boxer for the first time in the fight.
The rally closed the gap considerably on the scorecards, though Donaire strangely finished like a fighter who knew the fight was already in the bag. Salado came out in the 12th round like a fighter who knew he needed a knockout or at least a few knockdowns in order to have his hand raised in victory. It never quite happened like that, though the crowd favorite certainly left an impression on the crowd as well as his opponent.
In a fight like this, how you get the win is far less concerning than the fact that you leave the ring with your arms raised in victory. Donaire has plenty on which to build, but perhaps most importantly the confidence that he can make some noise in his latest tour as a title hopeful. The win here is Donaire’s second straight in improving to 19-4-1 (10KO).
Salado continues his checkerboard pattern of winning and losing. The latest defeat sends the Acapulco-born slugger to 23-5-2 (14KO), with all five losses coming in his last nine bouts.
The fight marked just the second trip to Mexico for Donaire (18-4-1, 10KO), whose lone other fight south of the border was a poorly scored title fight loss to Ulises Solis in July 2008.
The bad taste left over from the Solis fight was enough to convince Donaire to walk away from the sport, but elected to give it one more try last year.
With two straight wins under his belt, Donaire now sets his sights on the 115 lb. titlists, having previously twice fallen short at the title level. The regional belt acquired in this bout moves him closer towards a possible challenge against current champ Suriyan Sor Rungivisai.
In televised swing bout action, Miguel Dominguez outlasted Juan Antonio Hernandez in as terrific a fight as you can ask for between two fighters destined for opponent status.
Dominguez scored the bout’s lone knockdown in what proved to be the difference in taking a majority decision (though incorrectly announced as a split decision) to improve to 3-2 (1KO), climbing above .500 for the first time in a career with five fight spray painted over 5+ years.
Hernandez, who rallied back hard following the knockdown, was in disbelief when two of the three cards landed in favor of his opponent. A second straight loss comes as a result in falling to 3-3 (2KO).
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]