It would’ve been a KO
By Joaquin Henson
Wed, 05 Feb 2020
It wasn’t exactly the way IBF minimumweight champion Pedro Taduran wanted his first defense against Mexico’s Daniel Valladares to end at the Jardin Cerveza Expo in Guadalupe city, Nuevo Leon state, Metro Monterrey last Saturday night.
Valladares suffered a nasty 1 1/2 inch cut over his right eyebrow from an accidental headbutt with 51 seconds left in the first round. Referee Wes Melton summoned the ringside physician to examine the gash, got the go-signal to resume the action and the fight went on until the end of the fourth. The wound was deep and blood spewed out from the open slice. Early in the fourth, Melton asked the doctor to take another look at the gash. The physician gave Valladares the chance to finish the round and when the bell rang to end it, Melton signaled a halt to the proceedings.
If Melton stopped it before the end of the fourth round, the fight would’ve gone down as a No-Contest. Under the previous rule, it would’ve been called a technical draw, regardless of whom was ahead in the scorecards. But the rule changed because a technical draw has implications in settling bets while a No-Contest has none. Since the bout was waved off after the fourth round, it went to the scorecards. Judge John Basile of New York saw it 39-37 for Valladares while judge Jonathan Davis of Anaheim and judge Ellis Johnson of San Antonio had it 38-all. Basile scored the first three rounds for the Mexican and gave only the fourth to Taduran. Davis and Johnson awarded the first two rounds to Valladares and the next two to Taduran. The outcome was declared a technical majority draw.
Taduran’s handler Art Monis said if the fight continued, the Filipino would’ve scored a knockout. That was also the consensus of most ringsiders who noticed Valladares faded considerably starting the third round because of his cut and Taduran’s body assault. Twice, Taduran buckled Valladares’ knees but to his credit, the Mexican stood his ground. Taduran’s left straight to the face and left hook to the body were his punishers.
When the fight ended, Valladares broke into tears. He had wanted to capture the title before the highly-partisan hometown crowd that booed Taduran from start to finish. His consolation is he didn’t lose and a rematch will surely be ordered by the IBF. The fight was held in a beer garden and it seemed like the noisiest fans were drunk.
Taduran said he would’ve liked to knock out Valladares, something he felt he could do. He showed a lot of heart in battling the Mexican toe-to-toe and took some hard shots in the process. In the third round, Valladares connected with a right to the jaw and Taduran stepped back a bit. But his knees never buckled unlike Valladares.
Monis confirmed the headbutt caused the damage on Valladares. That happened as Taduran moved in to bang the body and raised his head as Valladares bent down to defend his midsection. “Nasaktan ni Pedro si Valladares at ramdam niya,” said Monis. “Kaya ni Pedro ang suntok ni Valladares. Sa third round, tinamaan si Pedro sa panga at umatras siya. Pero kaya raw. Maganda sana kung hindi natigil ang laban. Maganda ang kondisyon ni Pedro at parang makukuha na niya ang knockout sa mga sunod na rounds, dahil sa dami na rin tama ni Valladares.”
MP Promotions head Sean Gibbons watched the fight closely on TV in Manila and said it was like Manny Pacquiao battling Erik Morales all over again. “We need to do the rematch,” he said. “I’m going to explore all options what to do. I’ll need to speak with Art and (his wife) Vilma to see what they want to do.”
There is a clamor for Taduran to fight countrymen Samuel Salva in a rematch. Last September, Taduran upset the odds in halting Salva to capture the vacant IBF crown. Salva dropped Taduran in the first round but couldn’t sustain the attack and surrendered on his stool as the bell rang to start the fifth round. Taduran, a slow starter, broke down Salva with a vicious body bombardment. “When Salva gets a win, we’ll see about that,” said Gibbons. Last Jan. 19, Salva got back on the winning track and halted Donny Mabao to raise his record to 18-1, with 11 KOs. His only loss was to Taduran.
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Joaquin Henson.
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