By Rick Reeno
MGM Grand, Las Vegas - Roman "Rocky" Martinez (29-2-3, 17KOs) and Orlando 'Siri' Salido (42-13-3, 29KOs) waged another war for twelve rounds, which ended in a split draw. Martinez retains the WBO super featherweight championship. The scores were 115-113 for Martinez, 115-113 for Salido, 114-114.
Martinez won the first bout back in April, and the WBO crown, with a twelve round unanimous decision.
Many at ringside saw Salido as a close points winner.
A busy start by both fighters to set the pace in the first round. The second saw Salido forcing the fireworks. He was pressing forward with wild swings from both hands. Martinez tried to keep moving to create distance, but eventually he was forced to stand and trade.
Salido continued to press in the third and scored a flash knockdown. Martinez, who argued that Salido stepped on his foot to cause the knockdown, returned the favor a moment later with a shot that sent Salido wobbling to the ropes and down to both knees. They were trading to the bell with Martinez looking to do more damage.
Martinez rocked Salido at the start of the fourth and couldn't follow up as the Mexican veteran was shooting hard punches to fend him off. They were back to trading big shots at the start of the fifth and Salido was getting the better of the exchanges. The sixth saw Salido keep plugging away, pushing forward with punches and Martinez just moving and looking to counter off the back foot.
Martinez was picking up the pace in the seventh, looking to stay in line with Salido's output. Salido was landing the better selection of punches and continued to do so in the eight. Salido was digging hard to the body in the ninth, throwing hard hooks to slow Martinez down. They were trading heavy in the final ten seconds.
After slowing a bit in the ninth and tenth, they went to war in the eleventh. The punches were flying from both fighters. Martinez was standing his ground, going shot for shot and then some as Salido was going after him with both barrels loaded. They were back to trading in the twelfth, throwing punches to the head and body from all angles. Salido was still outworking and outlanding him as they traded until the final bell.