HIGHLY world-ranked minimumweight Melvin Jerusalem felt that Robert Paradero made a huge mistake in the final two rounds of his world championship fight with Vic Saludar last Saturday afternoon, Feb. 20, and that might have cost him the fight.
“Inggo (Paradero) relaxed. He was doing fine, but he relaxed thinking that he had already won the fight,” said Jerusalem, who was closely watching the interim World Boxing Association (WBA) minimumweight title fight in a closed-door show held at the Biñan Football Stadium in Biñan City, Laguna through a Facebook livestream.
Jerusalem felt that his fellow Bukidnon native, Paradero, was winning the latter half of the fight and was poised to win if he had continued to be aggressive in the final two rounds.
“That fight could have been Inggo’s. Saludar won the first five rounds, and Inggo, the sixth to 10th rounds. The 11th round was very close and then Saludar won the 12th round. It was a very even fight, but Inggo could have also won that fight,” he said.
Jerusalem is very familiar with Paradero because they had already shared the ring on five occasions as amateur fighters, fighting in fiestas and invitationals in Bukidnon.
“He’s from Malaybalay, Bukidnon. We fought five times as amateurs,” said Jerusalem, who’s from Manolo Fortich. “He beat me twice in our first two encounters. But when I already started training, I beat him three straight times.”
If given a chance, Jerusalem is open to fighting Saludar.
“I think I can beat him. I’m willing to fight Saludar if given the chance,” he said.
“I don’t feel that I have much of an advantage against him because Saludar is very good. If he’ll give me a chance, I’ll do my best to get the belt and avenge Inggo.”
Jerusalem, 27, is currently training at the Phil-Aust Boxing Gym under Michael Domingo. He’s been sparring with the likes of fellow former ALA fighter Christian Bacolod and Jimpol Dignos.
Jerusalem is the 10th best 105-pounder ranked by the “Bible of Boxing,” The Ring Magazine. He’s rated No. 2 by the World Boxing Council (WBC), No. 4 by the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and No. 6 by the World Boxing Organization (WBO).
Jerusalem once fought for a world title in 2017. He challenged then WBC minimumweight king Wanheng Menayothin in Thailand. Jerusalem had Menayothin in all sorts of trouble, but he lost via a closely contested unanimous decision.
Jerusalem, who now fights under Sanman Promotions, is 16-2 with 10 knockouts.