CANCUN, MEXICO-Celina "The Sweetheart" Salazar plowed through a seemingly drained former world champion Ana "The Hurricane" Julaton to win by unanimous decision after 10 rounds on Saturday in a featherweight catch-weight contest.
The former two-time junior featherweight world champion Julaton (12-4-1, 2 Kos) had lobbied hard to television executives to stage the fight. Her efforts brought the Salazar (5-1-2) fight to Mexico at the Plaza de Toros, but those hurricane-like punches seemed lost in a fog.
From the opening round Salazar seemed stronger and quicker to the trigger as she bobbed and weaved under Julaton's jabs and right hands. Julaton was warned for holding as Salazar attacked with combinations throughout the first round despite the holding.
"I was a little surprised that she held," said Salazar, 24, who lives in San Antonio, Texas.
Julaton, 33, looked to hold and hit again the second round but was thrown down by Salazar. Both were fighting to control the other. Julaton was warned for putting her head down repeatedly. Salazar took what was given and hit on the body.
"She tried to get rough with me but I was too strong for her," Salazar said.
Julaton went down twice in round three, once just to get away from Salazar's attack and another on a slip trying to evade the Texan's onslaught. Julaton could not seem to get untracked and could not figure out the bob and weave style of Salazar.
"We work on that all of the time," said Arturo Ramos, who trains Salazar and is a former boxer.
There was lots of holding by Julaton again in the fourth but she scored with a good left hook and a counter right hand. It was her best round but the referee warned Julaton again for ducking her head down. Salazar took advantage and continued hitting whatever was available.
"Whenever she put her head down like that I just put my weight on her," said the Texas fighter. "We work on that all of the time."
In round five Salazar was deducted a point for hitting behind the back as Julaton continued to hold and hold. Still, Salazar had a good round as the Filipina just couldn't fire a combination. If you ever saw Julaton fight before, she usually fires combinations and gets out. The combinations were nonexistent in this fight.
"We watched a lot of tape of Ana," said Ramos. "We know if she gets hit hard she comes back even harder."
It was a dominant round six for Salazar who hit Julaton with everything she could. A right hand wobbled the Filipina and she held on and went to the ground. It was ruled a slip again. Salazar attacked the body intensely as Julaton seemed very tired.
Julaton had gone into overdrive with the holding. She seemed physically spent after the first 30 seconds and held as Salazar attacked. It was an ugly round in the seventh with all of the holding and the fans whistled a lot at the lack of punches.
Not many punches came from Julaton who seemed looking to pot shot in round. She landed a good uppercut but later took a hard overhand right. Salazar was on the attack and Julaton seemed very tired in the ninth round.
Julaton just couldn't muster any energy as Salazar had her way on the inside with combinations and uppercuts. The former champion tried to make a stand but her legs just couldn't carry out her commands. Salazar was the stronger fighter as the final round ended.
When the Salazar was hoisted by her trainer, the crowd erupted into a loud cheer inside the packed bull ring arena. The fans had no doubt who the winner would be. All three judges scored it 99-91.
"I felt strong," said Salazar who never seemed to tire from the punch output. It was her first 10-round fight but it didn't show. "I was a little worried because I had never fought 10 rounds before."
Julaton was gracious in defeat. The Filipina former world champion just couldn't get off with her punches. She deserved a much better fate for getting the fight put together on the Golden Boy Promotions fight card. But sometimes the best plans take their own direction. Salazar was the victor.
"Do something with this win," said Angelo Reyes who trains and advises Julaton. "Don't let it go to waste."
The ring announcer was Jimmy Lennon Jr. but the fight was not televised in the Southwest region. Maybe if Julaton had won. It's not good for Fox Deportes to play games with a large Latino audience that was looking forward to seeing the fight.
WBC junior lightweight titlist Takashi Miura (26-2-2, 19 Kos) held on to his title with a brutal 12-round battle against Cancun's Sergio "Yeyo" Thompson (26-3, 24 Kos). Miura floored Thompson twice and was floored himself in the eighth round. Miura won by unanimous decision but after the fight was taken to a Cancun hospital after reportedly throwing up blood.
The Cancun rivalry continued between Arely Valente (12-1, 7 Kos) and Yesenia Gomez (6-3, 3 Kos) saw a lot of back and forth bombs exchanged for all 10 rounds. The rematch was won by Valente who takes the WBC Youth flyweight title from Gomez. Both fought earlier in the year with Gomez winning the battle for Cancun. This time it was Valente.
Adan Mares (10-0, 3 Kos), the brother of featherweight world champion Abner Mares, was the victor after six rounds against the very tough Tomas Sierra (23-29-1) of Mexico. A first round knockdown from the Mares three-punch combination floored Sierra but he survived the rest of the fight. All three judges scored it for Mares.
Emmanuel Medina (4-0, 3 Kos) defeated Daniel Sabido (3-2) in a four round welterweight bout. It was one of the early bouts. Medina fights out of Santa Fe Springs.
Damien "Sugar" Vasquez out of Las Vegas won his pro debut by knockout in the first round of Mexico's Miguel Meneses (0-11) of a flyweight battle. Vasquez, 16, looked like a seasoned professional and dropped Meneses two times before ultimately winning by knockout at 1:42 of the opening frame. A counter right-left combination by the southpaw Vasquez ended the fight. Vasquez is the nephew of the great junior featherweight world champion Israel "El Magnifico" Vasquez who was in his corner.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV