Michael Pastrano Aldeguer and Bob Arum recently met. One of the top prospects that the chieftains of ALA Promotions and Top Rank discussed?
El Metodico. “The Method Man,” known for his precise, well-designed and deliberate punches, his name is Milan Melindo. Aldeguer explained: “Bruce Trampler, the International Hall of Fame Top Rank match maker who has worked with Muhammad Ali, Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather, Sugar Ray Leonard and the great Manny Pacquiao, is keen on having Milan in their shows abroad.”
This is outstanding news. Are we anticipating, possibly in Pacquiao’s next Las Vegas encounter this May or June, an ALA boxer to be featured in the undercard? We hope so. Because… sayang. In nearly all of MP’s mega-fights, with tens of millions of eyeballs watching, no prominent Pinoy was featured in the undercard. With this ALA-Top Rank initiative, we might see a change.
Back to Milan Melindo, he’s one of the top guns being groomed. “That just says it all for Milan despite the fact that he has never even fought in the US,” said Michael Aldeguer. “Pinoy Pride, who has achieved double-figure national television ratings, has helped Filipino fighters get global recognition through these events.”
But, before thinking of Las Vegas, it’s Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino this Saturday, January 28. It’s the 11th edition of Pinoy Pride and Melindo is fighting another Mexican, Juan Esquar, in the 112-lb. Flyweight Division.
Why this heated Philippines-Mexico rivalry? I asked Aldeguer. “The Philippines-Mexico rivalry started when Manny, one by one, beat Mexico’s living legends in Marco Antonio Barrera, Eric Morales and Juan Manuel Marquez. What he has done opened doors not only for Filipino boxers abroad but highlighted the rivalry of our nations in boxing. Manny’s achievements showed the world that Filipinos are at par with the best in the world giving inspiration to the young boxer’s dream that you can achieve anything if you work hard.”
(In my further research, Mexico and the Philippines are so similar that, despite our geographical distance, we’re “baby-making nations.” Mexico ranks as the 11th most populous nation on this planet (113 million) while ours is ranked 12th at 94 million.)
With Milan’s opponent, Juan Esquer, is he: A patsy? A whipping boy? A sacrificial boxing lamb ready to be bloodied by the undefeated (in 25 fights) Milan Melindo?
“Juan Esquer has fought the best fighters of his division,” said Aldeguer. “He has fought six world champions: Ivan Calderon, Hernan Marquez, Carlos TamaraGilberto, Keb Baas, Lui Concepcion and Kermin Guardia. He has a 56.76 % KO percentage.”
Impressive. He also has, like boxers in the mold of Mayweather, a loud mouth. “I am a fighter who likes to slug it out and I am going to win by knockout so that they (judges) will not take away the fight from me,” Esquer said. “I am 100% sure of winning my fight against Melindo.”
100 percent sure? What I’m 100 % sure of is this: This Saturday will be a carnage. Jabs, wallops, uppercuts will bombard Lahug.
I asked Michael A. what he likes about Milan M. “He has a high boxing I.Q. He is so focused and is very hard-working. He analyzes the game and he has always have had a cerebral approach to everything. What is great about Milan is his being calculated with his punches and he picks his spots and times his punches well.”
As to the Pinoy Pride Series, Aldeguer adds: “Each Pinoy Pride is unique as boxing shows are always unpredictable and feature different fighters and opponents from different nationalities. Like the last Pinoy Pride Philippines vs Mexico wherein up and coming fighter Jason Pagara lost to Rosbel Montoya of Mexico. Hopefully, Filipinos will come and support Team Philippines against The World in their quest to win the World Trophy and bring pride to the country once again. ALA Promotions is always true to its goal to discover and support Filipino fighters and for them to have a great venue to showcase their skills to the world.”