MELINDO LOSES IN GALLANT EFFORT AGAINST ESTRADA
By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Sun, 28 Jul 2013
Milan Melindo suffered the first loss in his career when he dropped a twelve round unanimous decision against tough Mexican WBO/WBA flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada who had won the title last April 6 here at the Cotai Arena of the plush Venetian Resort Hotel in Macau.
Estrada used the same tactics he employed when he grabbed the title from the fancied Brian Viloria, biding his time and coming on strong in the so-called championship rounds.
A cut under the left eye of Melindo in round six appeared to be the turning point of the fight as the blood bothered the mandatory challenger while Estrada targeted the cut with his accurate right straights which got through the almost impeccable defense of Melindo up to that point.
Hampered by the bleeding cut Melindo, felt the fight may have been slipping away from him and decided to engage Estrada with the hope of scoring a knockout in the eleventh round. Instead it was Melindo who got caught with a perfectly timed counter right that dropped the challenger and with it the chance of possible victory.
Buoyed by the knockdown and his corner yelling out instructions to go after Melindo, Estrada put on a big finish and staggered Melindo to seal the victory but nowhere near the margin on the scorecards of the three judges which mystified journalists covering the fight at ringside and even Top Rank promoter Bob Arum who told us he had Melindo ahead at the end of the eight round but that the last four rounds and the knockdown clinched the fight for Estrada in his first title defense.
Judge Rafael Ramos had Estrada ahead 118-109, Takeshi Shimakawa 117-109 and Zolta n Enyei 118-109.
Arum said he didn't know which fight the three judges were watching while HBO commentators Larry Merchant and former two-time world heavyweight champion George Foreman were equally surprised by the judges scorecards with Foreman believing that Melindo probably should have even eked out a close decision.
Melindo caught Estrada with a solid left hook that shook Estrada in the dying seconds of the first round and rocked the champion again in round four with another left hook.
Round five saw Melindo connect with a vicious uppercut during a furious exchange but Estrada picked up the tempo in round eight and although the smaller Filipino tried desperately to turn the tide Estrada proved too elusive and although many of his punches were blocked by Melindo's gloves the work rate of the champion apparently influenced the judges.
Melindo was gracious in defeat and acknowledged that Estrada was the better fighter tonight and said he learnt a lot from his first title bid and would return much better prepared the next time around.
Arum praised the effort of Melindo and said he would, in the future, give him another crack at the world title.
WBO Asia Pacific super bantamweight champion Genesis "Azukal" Servania retained his title wit h a 9th round technical majority decision over Japan's former world title challenger Konosuke Tomiyama in a thrilling fight that had a total of four knockdowns, three in the very first round.
Servania nailed the Japanese challenger in the middle of the round and dropped him but Tomiyama came back strong and sent Servania to the canvas twice in the same round.
Servania suffered a cut on his right eye in the next round but then caught Tomiyama with a superb right counter and dropped him in the dying seconds of the third round but the Japanese was saved by the bell.
The sweet-punching Filipino hurt Tomiyama in round four and connected with a good combination in round five when once again the Japanese challenger was saved by the bell.
Servania boodied Tomiyama's nose in round six but the Japanese fighter came back in round seven, catching the Filipino with some good shots.
Servania ended round eight with a flurry of punches but when he suffered a bad cut from what referee Danrex Tapdasan ruled as a headbutt, the ringside doctor ruled that Servania was in no position to continue and the referee called a halt which meant going to the scorecards.
To the consternation of the media and the large crowd of Filipino supporters judge Saweng Thaweekoon scored the fight for Tomiyama who initially thought he won the fight on a stoppage before the referee made it clear, the cut was caused by a head-butt.
Tomiyama thought he had won and celebrated prematurely jumping on the ropes and screaming but judge Takeshi Shimakawa had Servania ahead 87-82 while Salven Lagumbay also scored it for Servania 86-83 to enable him to improve his unbeaten streak to 22-0 with 8 knockouts.
Trainer Edito "Ala" Villamor said Servania had several stitches and so did Melindo.
In the opening bout southpaw Dave Penalosa, the son of former two division world champion Dodie Boy Penalosa and the nephew of another two division world champion Gerry Penalosa made short work of an overmatched Thai Ngaotawa Sithsaithong to score a knockout at 0:45 seconds of the second round.
Click here to view a list of other articles written by Ronnie Nathanielsz.
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