By Cliff Rold
27-year old Featherweight Gamalier Rodriguez (23-2-3, 16 KO) of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, inched closer to a title shot on Saturday night at the Coliseo Roger L. Mendoza in Caguas, Puerto Rico, scoring a bloody eighth round stoppage of game 32-year old Aldimar Dos Santos (19-6, 10 KO) of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Dos Santos was stopped for blood from the ear and drops his fourth fight in six starts. Rodriguez extends a 16-fight unbeaten streak dating to 2009.
Both men weighed in at 125 ¼, just a shade below the division limit of 126 lbs. The referee was Roberto Ramirez.
It was a solid, competitive fight from the start with both men working smart off the jab. Rodriguez was generally the aggressor, keeping Dos Santos on the back foot. The bleeding started for Dos Santos in round six. A clash of heads near the end of the round opened a nasty cut over his left eye and the ringside doctor gave it a long look.
The fight continued with Rodriguez maintaining control. In the eighth, a right hand may have burst the eardrum of Dos Santos, a crimson blot immediately visible. The doctor took a look and the fight was halted at 1:29 of round eight.
Rodriguez came into the bout rated #6 by the WBO. The current WBO Featherweight titlist is Orlando Salido.
In the televised opener, 26-year old Dominican Flyweight Erickson Martell (12-4-1, 8 KO), 112 ¼, won his third straight after a second round loss to Jonathan Gonzalez in 2012, widely outboxing the awkward and inefficient 24-year old Juan Herrera (9-7, 4 KO), 112 ½, of Naguabo, Puerto Rico to end a modest two-fight win streak for Herrera. There were no knockdowns in the six-round affair but Martell did more than enough to earn scores of 58-56 and 59-55 twice. The referee was Luis Pabon.
The card was broadcast on UniMas as part of its “Solo Boxeo” series, promoted by Top Rank.
Super bantamweight prospect Jose Lopez (12-0, 10KOs) scored a third round knockout over Luis Ortiz (3-16).
Puerto Rican Olympian Francisco Vargas (1-0, 1KO) made his debut with a first round stoppage of junior middleweight Luis Gonzalez (0-1).
Super bantamweights Josue Declet (2-0-1) and Jaxel Marrero (1-1-1) went to a four round split draw. The scores were 39-37, 39-37 and 38-38.
Junior welterweight contender Anton Novikov (28-0, 10 KOs) of Russia won a ten round unanimous decision over Manuel Perez (20-9-1, 4 KOs). The scores were 96-94, 98-92 and 99-91.