YOU could sense it going down. And it was disheartening because you know there was nothing to prevent it from happening.

For the first few rounds, Milan Melindo was fighting on even terms with Ken Shiro for the WBC light flyweight crown.

Though the younger Shiro was winning the early stages--using his reach advantage and superior speed to good use, Milan was arguably holding his own, countering and keeping things honest by lashing the younger Shiro with a cracking right hand every now and then.

CUT. Alas, all those shots took an early toll on Milan’s leathery exterior. Milan proudly wears the scars of battle, and it’s no open secret that he is a keloid-former and his skin can, at any moment, split open and transform into a more grotesque iteration.

Shiro especially found his mark in the fifth and sixth rounds, peppering Milan with combinations.

Expectedly the inevitable happened, as Milan’s cut above the left eye caused the denouement of the fight.

NEXT. Shiro’s statement win over Milan was his fourth successful title defense of the world title he earned by dethroning Mexican Ganigan Lopez in a majority decision win in May of last year in Tokyo.

Shiro (14-0, 8KOs) is a fighter to watch out for. Standing at 5-foot-5, he is superior in physical stature to most fighters in his division and he has the speed and ring smarts to boot.

A unification bout with IBF, WBA champion Hekkie Budler would be ideal.

As for Milan, the fact that he defeated Budler still makes him relevant in the title mix, but I don’t know how his team can address the fact that he cuts and bruises easily now, a weakness all his opponents will obviously exploit.

VERBATIM. “I’m pretty sure because with my fight against Zab Judah, there was a crazy melee in the ring and a huge penalty--a huge fine. If I’m not mistaken, seven figures.”--Floyd Mayweather (www.joe.co.uk)

LAST ROUND. It’s on my kumpare Clifford Gaite who celebrates his birthday this week. Cheers!