by Ronnie Nathanielsz
Filipino welterweight Mark Jason Melligen’s Las Vegas based trainer Tony Martin promises fireworks when the hard-hitting southpaw battles Mexican Gabriel Martinez (27-1-1, 14 KO'S) on the undercard of the WBC/WBO title fight between champion Fernando “KO-Chulito” Montiel and Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire at the Mandalay Bay Resort Hotel & Casino on February 19.
The Top Rank fight card will be telecast over ABS-CBN's pre-eminent Channel 2 and also on its global network TFC, The Filipino Channel.
Martin, a longtime Cebu resident who lives in Las Vegas told the Inquirer that Melligen’s condition was “great and the best I have seen him in.”
Melligen (20-2, 14 KO's) started training at the ALA Gym in Cebu and worked with strength and conditioning coach Pio Solon who has done well for the ALA boxers as shown by the recent 3rd round KO victory of.Rey “Boom Boom” Bautista in a rematch with Alejandro Barrera.
Martin said the 24 year old southpaw's condition “ shows in his sparring, road work and overall commitment to his training. He seems to be fully focused for this coming fight. If He takes all these attributes into the ring on the night of the fight, we are in for a night of fireworks.”
Melligen currently weighs 153lbs. Martin said that “a week before the fight he will have him at 149lbs and will maintain the weight until a couple of days before the weigh in, then come in at 147lbs at the weigh in.”
The veteran trainer revealed that since Melligen arrived in Las Vegas last January 15 he has sparred 52 rounds and plans another 20 before Melligen steps into the ring. He has sparred at the Mayweather Gym with fighters such as Golden Gloves middleweight champion, 5’11” Kevin Newman who is trained by Roger Mayweather and is “ a puncher boxer with good foot movement and fast hands. This boy is the same height as Gabriel Martinez and has a similar style.”
Martin said Melligen has also sparred with undefeated American super middleweight Dion Savage (10-0, 6 KO’s) and another Golden Gloves champion, 5’11” Chris Thomas who has “ a very awkward style, who will pressure you non stop for the entire rounds.”
Martin said they had seen a tape of Martinez’s fight against undefeated Mexican hope Saul Alvarez who won over twelve rounds in a WBA Fedecentro title fight when Melligen’s opponent was forced to retire with his left beye cut and badly swollen.
Martinez described Martinez as “a strong boy who can box and punch, and will be no push over for Melligen.”
The trainer predicted Melligen would win but added “we must make a big statement on the night to show Top Rank and his fans he has what it takes to step up to the big time. For me Melligen's next fight should be for some sort of title, or at least fight a world rated fighter. Its Time.”