Saturday, November 26, 2022  |



Oscar Collazo gets off the canvas to outpoint ex-champ Vic Saludar

Oscar Collazo (left) and Vic Saludar (right). Photo by Tom Hogan / Golden Boy

LOS ANGELES – Unbeaten upstart Oscar Collazo overcame a knockdown to defeat Vic Saludar, a two-time world titleholder, by unanimous decision Saturday night at the Arena (formerly known as Staples Center). 

Scores were 116-112, 116-112, and 118-110 for Collazo (5-0, 4 knockouts), who won the WBA world strawweight title eliminator. 

The southpaw Collazo, who resides in Villalba, Puerto Rico, and is promoted by Miguel Cotto Promotions, was the more-effective fighter from the opening bell, connecting with combinations to the head and body of Saludar. 

Undaunted, Saludar attempted to stand his ground, willing to trade in the center of the round. Saludar was eager to counter Collazo with lead or straight right hands to the head. 

The action became more intense during the middle rounds, particularly in the sixth when both fighters hit the canvas. About midway through the round, a left hand doubled over Saludar. Collazo followed with a two-punch combination that forced Saludar to crouch down, but not dropping to the canvas. Referee Sharon Sands administered a standing-eight count, which Saludar beat. 

Moments later, Saludar caught Collazo flush with a right uppercut to the head, dropping him to the canvas. Collazo was not visibly hurt, and finished the round outboxing Saludar.

Collazo was mostly in control during the second half of the fight, although Saludar was game and made him work to earn the rounds he won. Collazo mixed his offense by countering Saludar or initiating exchanges, which he would mostly win. 

The 25-year-old Collazo won his previous fight on December 3, stopping Pedro Villegas of Ecuador in the third round. 

Saludar, who resides in Cagayan de Oro City in the Philippines, drops to 21-6, 11 KOs. He has now lost three of his last five bouts, including a split-decision loss to Erick Rosa on December 21. 

Also on the Golden Boy Promotions card, Diego De La Hoya returned from an over two-year absence from the ring, stopping journeyman Enrique Bernache near the end of the third round.

De La Hoya, who resides in Mexicali, Mexico and is the younger cousin of Oscar De La Hoya, improves to 23-1 1 NC, 11 knockouts.

Both De La Hoya and Bernache squared off in April 2019, but the fight ended in the second round after a clash of heads produced a cut over Bernache’s eye that did not allow him to continue. In the rematch Saturday night, De La Hoya was the quicker and more-effective fighter, showing his aggression and speed in connecting with combinations to Bernache’s head and body. 

During the opening round, Bernache had issues with the soles of his shoes that made him slip on the canvas. During the minute-rest after the round ended, his corner wrapped tape around the soles of both shoes, but Bernache continued to slip or lose his balance during the fight.

Bernache was still game and was able to connect occasionally with a hook or cross, but De La Hoya’s quickness and accuracy slowly broke Bernache down.

With about a minute left in the third round, De La Hoya pinned Bernache against the ropes, where he unleashed a barrage of punches that connected to Bernache’s head. Sensing Bernache was stunned, De La Hoya went on the attack, landing repeatedly until referee Ray Corona stopped the fight at 2:51.

The win over Bernache was De La Hoya’s first fight since December 2019, when he defeated Renson Robles by unanimous decision. De La Hoya has fought most of his career at 122 pounds and his only loss was by knockout to Ronny Rios in July of that year. 

Bernache, who resides in Guadalajara, Mexico, drops to 24-14 1 NC, 12 KOs. 

In the opening bout, junior welterweight Miguel Goana (3-0, 2 KOs) of Los Angeles dropped Puerto Rico’s Abdiel Padilla (1-3, 1 KO) twice, both times from right hooks to the body, en route to a first round knockout. Referee Jack Reiss counted Padilla out at 1:20. 

Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing