By Nick Giongco
In an action-packed and bloody bout, Filipino champion Pedro Taduran kept the International Boxing Federation (IBF) miniflyweight crown Saturday night (Sunday in Manila) when his clash with the game Mexican challenger Daniel Valladares ended on a fourth-round technical draw.
Fighting on hostile ground, Taduran, making the first defense of the IBF 105-lb title, found himself in a tough outing as early as the first round when Valladares came out smoking hot.
An accidental clash of heads opened a cut above Valladares right eyebrow that the ring doctor immediately examined.
The two then waged a war in the next three rounds with Taduran scoring on rapid-fire body shots and hits to the head and Valladares bringing his own version of mayhem.
In the fourth, the doctor once again checked on the cut and allowed the fight to continue but during the break before the bell sounding the start of the fifth frame, the third man called a halt to the duel on the advice of the physician.
One judge, John Basile of New York had it 39-37 for Valladares while the two others, Jonny Davis of California and Ellis Johnson of Texas, both saw it 38-38.
Since the cut was caused by an accidental butt, the outcome had to be decided by the judges’ scorecards and Taduran was fortunate to have been awarded a draw.
“He could have been screwed,” admitted Taduran’s official representative Sean Gibbons, noting that the 23-year-old from Albay was fighting on hostile ground.
“But he was treated well,” added Gibbons.
The draw left Taduran’s record to 14-2-1 with 11 KOs while Valladares saw his mark to 22-1 with 13 stoppages.
Taduran might end up meeting fellow Filipino Samuel Salva in a rematch here if Salva’s new backer, a cent company, bankrolls the fight.
Last year, Taduran had to pick himself up from a first-round knockdown to stop Salva in four rounds to win the IBF title.
If victorious, Gibbons swears he’d love to see Taduran face off with Valladares again.
Taduran is one of four reigning Filipino world champions after Manny Pacquiao, Jerwin Ancajas and John Riel Casimero.