By Jake Donovan
Carlos Buitrago managed to maintain his unbeaten record on the road in the Philippines - just not in the manner for which he hoped.
The 21-year old Nicaraguan came just shy of unseating 105 lb. titlist Merlito Sabillo, as the unbeaten strawweights fought to a 12-round draw Saturday evening in Manlia, Philippines. Scores were 115-113 Buitrago, 115-113 Sabillo and 114-114 even.
Sabillo makes the second defense of a title he won in interim capacity on the road in Colombia earlier this year. The draw moves his record sideways to 23-0 (12KO). Buitrago is now 27-0-1 (16KO) after a second straight road trip against an unbeaten fighter; the win leading to Saturday's title shot was a 12-round decision over Julian Yedras in Merida, Mexico.
Milan Melindo rebounded from a failed title bid with a 12-round win over Mexico's Jose Rodriguez. Scores were 118-110, 118-109 and 119-109.
Melindo (30-1, 12KO) offered a brave showing earlier this year in a points loss to unified flyweight titlist Juan Estrada this past July in Macau. The flyweight contender was a knockout hit in his previous trip to China, stopping Tommy Seran in four rounds on the same show that saw Estrada upset Brian Viloria.
The power exhibited in that fight appears to be an anomaly, as subsequent performances are more reflective of his 40% knockout percentage. The loss to Estrada - which included the lone knockdown of the Filipino's career - was crushing but expected. However, allowing Rodriguez to last the distance appears to be a missed opportunity, despite the dominant performance.
Rodriguez falls to 29-3 (18KO), with all three career losses coming within his past four fights. The former interim 108 lb. titlist proved his lack of worth on the title stage when he mailed it in versus Kazuto Ioka last December.
The card from Manila will air via tape delay Saturday evening on beIN Sports in the United States (10PM ET/PT).
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Bard, Yahoo Boxing Ratings Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox