By Ronnie Nathanielsz
International Boxing Federation Championships Chairman Lindsey Tucker has explained the drop in the ratings of undefeated flyweight Milan Melindo from the top spot in February 2011 to the current No. 12 ranking even as he warned that bantamweight AJ “Bazooka” Banal will suffer the same fate.
Tucker claimed that when flyweight champion Moruti Mthalane was due for a mandatory defense and Melindo was the leading available contender, ALA Promotions president Michael Aldeguer sent him a letter “stating that Melindo was available to fight Mthalane” and that he (Tucker) ordered the two sides to start negotiations.”
However, the IBF official stated that some three weeks later he found out that Melindo was fighting someone else and that under IBF Rules “if you commit to a world title fight or an eliminator and pull out, we drop you below No. 10 for six months.”
However, Tucker said he doesn’t know why Melindo is still out of the top ten if his six months is up and immediately forwarded a query from the Manila Standard to IBF Ratings chairman William Jones who informed the Standard “ we will take another look at Milan in our next rating period.”
Tucker also referred to the case of Banal and told the Standard “Former IBF Bantamweight Champion Abner Mares vacated the Title on Feb. 1, 2012. I sent a letter to the top 2 Bantamweights, #1, Vusi Malinga and #3, A.J. Banal on Feb. 7, 2012. Banal agreed to fight Malinga for the vacant Title. A couple of weeks later I find out that Banal is fighting on March 31, 2012. He will be lowered in the Ratings.”
Responding to the concern of ALA Promotions of not wanting to risk fighting in South Africa because of alleged hometown decisions, Tucker said “Melindo did not have to fight in South Africa unless he agreed to fight in South Africa or lost the Purse Bid. Just be aware that when boxers go to South Africa, the IBF tries to make sure we have neutral officials.”
Tucker referred to the IBF interim minimum weight title fight between Johnreil Casimero and Luis Lazarte in Argentina stating that “when Johnriel Casimero went to Argentina, none of the officials were from Argentina. All of the officials were from America but neither boxer was from America” in an effort to underscore the fact that the IBF seeks to be neutral in the choice of ring officials.
Aldeguer told the Manila Standard that they are currently working on a possible title fight for Melindo who is ranked No.1 by the WBO where the champion Brian Viloria faces Omar Nino Romero in May, No. 7 in the WBC and No. 9 in the WBA.