By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is willing to give Filipino welterweight Mark Jason Melligen one more chance to prove his worth after his shocking 9th round knockout loss to Argentine Sebastian Andres Lujan in San Antonio, Texas on July 1.
Melligen out-boxed Lujan and was leading on the scorecards of the three judges – Rick Crocker, Ruben Garcia and Joel Elizondo at the end of the third round. Ranked No. 16 by the WBC, the Filipino was considered the favorite to win and had dreamed of a possible crack at immensely popular Mexican WBC light middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
However, after an impressive start Melligen began to fade in the fourth round and was dropped in the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th rounds by Lujan who improved his record to 38-5-2 with 24 knockouts while Melligen suffered his third defeat to drop to 21-3 with 14 knockouts.
The Filipino southpaw was first given a chance after a disappointing loss to Mexico’s Michel Rosales in 2009 but Melligen’s Las Vegas based trainer Tony Martin noted that “he redeemed himself when he came back with an impressive win in his next fight.”.
This time around Arum said the defeat was “a tremendous setback for him but he’s a nice kid and it hasn’t ruined his chances. It was a very, very bad blow to him losing that fight (to Lujan) the way he did. But we’ll give him another chance.”
Martin, a longtime Cebu resident told the Daily Inquirer he felt disappointed that “ someone with so much talent has just thrown away the opportunity of a lifetime because of his lack of discipline, self-motivation and foolish actions.”
Martin who trains Melligen at the Mayweather Gym was clearly hurt by what happened. He said “to think that over the last three years of all the hard work that we as a team have gone through to better Melligen’s career. He has not only let himself down, but all those around him who believed in him.”