Jingo Quijano

Last Round

THERE'S a certain buzz about Milan Melindo that just won’t go away. You see, unlike his more popular ALA Gym stablemates who exhibit a clean-cut image, and a sometimes unhealthy lack of grubby ring tactics, Milan is no ring angel.

Not that he’s a dirty fighter, mind you. But if you initiate it and sock the family jewels, Milan is certainly not averse to showing you how the dastardly deed is properly done.

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No doubt about it, this spunky spitfire is definitely more than just plain vanilla.

SURIGAO. On my latest visit to the fabled ALA Gym in Talamban, Milan took time out to groom himself up for this last rounder and gamely answer a few queries.

Originally from the rustic town of General Luna in Siargao Island, Milan was transported to Cagayan de Oro City where he first took up the sport of boxing.

Pretty soon, he was fighting in town fiestas, invitational meets and actually made quite a name for himself in the amateur circuit.

LOVE AT FIRST FIGHT. But when he first laid eyes on the ALA gym and its superb facilities, Milan fell in love.

“Back in our place, all we had for a punching bag was a used spare tire,” he enthuses. “I knew if I wanted to make boxing a full time career, this is the place where I had to be.”

So he packed up his bags and left, but not after he explained to his father how he had to go to Cebu for better training and sparring opportunities.

PRO CAREER. So far, Milan has compiled an unblemished record of 13 wins, 5 knockouts. He’s not particularly flashy nor does he rely on pure punching power, but he gets the job done.

“I’m a counter-puncher and a thinking fighter. I like to find my opponent’s weakness and exploit it,” says Milan.

Milan considers Jose Guadalupe Martinez his toughest opponent to date.

Punching power was Martinez’s ace coming into that fight.

Unfortunately, Milan’s team was hoodwinked into thinking Martinez had less than 10 fights. In actuality, he owned a formidable record of 17 wins with 15 of those coming via the short route.

Was Milan worried? Naah.

During my interview, he exhibited a very relaxed demeanor and actually seemed amused as he recounted how he outsmarted his powerful opponent by countering and timing his attacks.

VILLAREAL. This Thursday at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino, Milan defends his WBC Youth Intercontinental belt against Anthony Villareal (9-2, 4KOs).

If Villareal’s manager is to be believed, his ward is quite capable of fighting ala Floyd Mayweather or even a Ricky Hatton, if the situation calls for it.

But Milan is unperturbed. He says he is ready for anything. Milan opines, matter-of-factly, that if Villareal comes wading in throwing bombs and neglects his defense, the latter will meet his come-uppance in the fifth round.

For a fighter not exactly known for his punching power, Milan is certainly brimming with confidence. And I don’t blame him.

He believes it’s his time now and the ALA executives are more than willing to provide him with the opportunity to do so.

It’s certainly a fight you would not want to miss.

CONGRATULATIONS. To my fellow Sun.Star Cebu columnist John Pages and the rest of the Cebu Executive Runners Club for a job well done. Indeed, the historic Cebu City Marathon was a huge success.

I’m quite glad I took the wifey’s advice to join. I was initially hesitant knowing the mammoth crowd of participants the 5K category would generate. But she convinced me that it will be good to be part of history.

And she was right. Great job, guys. Next year, I hope to muster enough courage and stamina to try for the 21K.

LAST ROUND. It’s on my favorite uncle, Engr. Raul V. Quiijano who recently celebrated his birthday. Cheers!

(jingo_quijano@yahoo.com)