There is no denying that Cagayan de Oro City’s Milan “Metodico” Melindo is a skillful boxer.
Undefeated in all of his professional boxing fights, this product of another grassroots boxing program started by then Misamis Oriental Governor Oscar Moreno, Melindo was expected to teach World Boxing Association and World Boxing Organization Flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada a neat boxing lesson and become a world champion that he dreamed to be.
Estrada, who is younger and taller than Melindo and who won the title by defeating Filipino-Am Brian Viloria, is not really a technical fighter.
But what he lacked in boxing skills and the technical aspect, Estrada and his handlers more than covered it up with an outstanding tactical strategy.
Melindo and his handlers, on the other hand, miscalculated the fight and the strategists overrated the Filipino challenger’s punching power.
While Melindo does not possess power behind his punches, he fought the Mexican champion like he was Mike Tyson, standing in front of Estrada and hoping to land one big punch that would end the fight.
Melindo connected with clean punches early on in the fight but while some may have indeed hurt Estrada, those hits were not enough to declare “lights out.’
Estrada and his handlers, on the other hand, knew that Melindo is no longer a young fighter and that chances are he would fade in the late rounds, a chink in the armor of most ALA boxers.
The Mexican champion just allowed the shorter and smaller Melindo to chase him all over the ring for nine rounds and when the tell-tale signs of fatigue showed, Estrada came back in the 10th round, scored a knockdown in tehe 11th and punished the Filipino challenger badly in the 12th.
The fight was a classic example of why Filipino boxers always end up losing to Mexican fighters in bouts which stretch the distance.
Filipino fighters may have the natural talent and skills but the Mexicans are outstanding tacticians who know what their fighters’ technical deficiencies are but cover these up with an excellent fight strategy.
This scene will be replayed over and over again unless those involved in Philippine boxing realize that trainers, handlers and cornermen have to study and learn.
Otherwise, the Philippines will always end up nursing broken hearts and chasing elusive championship dreams.