It's been nearly two full years since Carlos Buitrago last saw the win column. Naturally, the best course of action was to return to the scene of the last such occurrence, as the Nicaraguan strawweight came up big on the road in outpointing Mario Rodriguez over 10 rounds Saturday evening in Chiapas, Mexico.
The bout was a grinding affair throughout, with both fighters having their say over the course of the evening. In the end, it was Buitrago who did enough to sway the judges despite fighting in hostile territory, winning by scores of 96-93, 96.5-93, 95.5-93.
Buitrago moves to 28-1-1 (16KOs), ending a two-fight winless skid. The bout marked his fourth straight on the road after having never previously fought outside of Nicaragua. A July '13 points win over previously unbeaten Julian Yedras in Mexico led to his first title shot, fighting to a 12-round draw with Merlito Sabillo on the road in Philippines.
A shot at redemption was offered last October - more than 10 months after his last fight - in a title challenge versus Knockout CP Freshmart, his third straight unbeaten opponent. Buitrago offered a brave effort, but came up just short on all three cards in Thailand.
Rodriguez entered Saturday's bout having won three straight, but was unable to pick up the necessary win to help return the veteran spoiler to the title stage. The former strawweight titlist falls to 19-10-4 (12KOs), and is now 4-4 since his upset title knockout win over then-unbeaten Nkosinathi Joyi in Sept. '10.
The bout aired live on Canal 4 in Nicaragua, and also streamed live on its supporting website. Also on the show, though airing on TV Azteca and UniMas, Emanuel Lopez scored two knockdowns en route to a 9th round stoppage of Carlos Padilla.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox