By Jake Donovan
Luis Melendez appears to be on his third life as a prizefighter, as the 34-year old has now won five straight fights. The latest feat comes in a minor upset, turning back the challenge of Mexico's Raul Hirales in a stirring unanimous decision win Saturday evening in Barranquilla, Colombia.
Scores were 96-94, 97-93 and 98-92 in favor of Melendez, who remained a step ahead every time the fight went in the trenches.
Melendez was once a promising bantamweight contender who saw his career hit a free fall. Losses began piling up as he traveled outside of Colombia, as he remains winless on the road. Saturday's showdown with Hirales was less about gaining a hometown edge as it was proving he still has something left to offer the sport.
Ten rounds later, Melendez racked up the biggest win of his career, as he improves to 39-9-1 (28KOs).
Hirales has a six-fight win streak come to a close, as he falls to 22-3-1 (11KOs). Among his past six wins was the fateful Oct. '13 fight with Francisco Leal, who was too brave for his own good in an 8th round knockout that left him with brain injuries sadly leading to his untimely death just three days later.
Saturday's loss was his first since 2012, when he suffered back-to-back defeats to then-unbeaten prospects Carl Frampton and Adrian Young. Frampton has since gone on to claim a belt at 122 lb.
Also in televised action, lightweight prospect Luis Flores picked up his sixth straight win with a unanimous decision over sub .500 clubfighter Dunis Linan.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
Tags: Raul Hirales