Melindo faces ex-world champ

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Monday, November 11, 2013


FOUR months after failing in his world title bid, Milan Melindo will try to climb back up the flyweight ladder with a tough fight against a former world champion.

Melindo faces ex-interim World Boxing Association (WBA) light flyweight titleholder Jose Alfredo Rodriguez in one of the featured fights of the stacked Pinoy Pride 23– “Filipinos Kontra Latinos” on Nov. 30 at the Araneta Coliseum.

“It will always be an important fight after a loss, and Milan needs to win impressively to get back in the winning track but it won’t be easy against a former world champ,” ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer told Sun.Star Cebu.

Melindo, 29-1 with 12 knockouts, earned a crack at a world crown last July against WBA and World Boxing Organization (WBO) flyweight king Juan Francisco Estrada. But he lost by unanimous decision.

Rodriguez should be a difficult bounce-back fight for Melindo because he is a young and talented fighter who has fought some of the finest in his division.

The 24-year-old Mexican, 29-2 with 18 knockouts, has fought current world champions Kazuto Ioka and Alberto Rossel. He also has a win over former interim world champion Jesus Silvestre.

After back-to-back losses to Ioka and Rossel, Rodriguez is off a stoppage win over unheralded Marvin Diaz.

Also in the undercard, resurgent AJ Banal (29-2-1, 21 KOs) takes on Puerto Rican Lucian Gonzalez (14-7-2, 3 KOs), while Jason Pagara (31-2, 19 KOs) trades leathers with Dominican Vladimir Baez (19-1-2, 17 KOs).

“For AJ, he will have to go through a process of bringing his career back as a lot fighters are coming up ,” said Aldeguer.

Donnie Nietes (31-1-4, 17 KOs) will defend his WBO light flyweight title against Mexican Sammy Gutierrez (33-9-2, 23 KOs) in the main event, while WBO mini flyweight king Merlito Sabillo (23-0, 12 KOs) also defends his crown against interim champion Carlos Buitrago (27-0, 16 KOs).

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 11, 2013.

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