by Ronnie Nathanielsz
Undefeated mandatory challenger Milan Melindo is ready to regain the WBO/WBA flyweight titles that Brian Viloria lost to Mexico's Juan Francisco Estrada here at the plush Cotai Arena at the sprawling Venetian Resort Hotel in Macau.
Melindo who watched Viloria impress in the first half of his title defense against Estrada at this same venue last April 6 only to fade in the championship rounds when he decided to slug it out with the Mexican who finished strong, learned his lessons from that fight.
Even 2012 "Trainer of the Year" Robert Garcia who is here along with his younger brother and WBO featherweight champion Mikey Garcia who is moving up to junior lightweight and Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios who faces eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao here on November 24, cautioned Melindo about Estrada's ability to get stronger as the fight wears on.
When ABS-CBN's Dyan Castillejo asked Estrada what he takes that helps him finish stronger than when he starts his fights merely smiled and gave no answer.
At the official weigh-in at the Cotai Arena for 'FISTS OF GOLD II" Melindo (29-0, 12 KO's) 111.6 pounds while Estrada came in at the same weight.
Trainer Edito "Ala" Villamor told the Manila Standard after the weigh-in that it was the best weight so far because we prepared well so he didn't have a problem making weight."
Villamor conceded that they know Estrada is a"finisher fighter who comes on strong in the later rounds but we are prepared for this. We need to outbox him. We'll see what he shows us and we'll see what Melindo does in the ring. We learned from the Viloria loss."
He said Milan knows how to beat Estrada. It's the tougher Estrada vs the wiser Melindo. We are ready to go twelve rounds after sparring over 100 rounds against IBF light flyweight champion Johnreil Casimero and OPBDF super flyweight Arthur Villanueva among others.
Melindo believes his advantage is that when he is in the ring he looks straight into the eyes of his opponent and can read every move he makes. According to Melindo, trainer Edito "Ala" Villamor believes the fighter has "a third eye."
But Melindo believes it's his God-given skills that have brought him where he is today and he is confident it will see him avenge countryman Viloria's painful loss to Estrada last April.
Melindo shares the views of Garcia who said he thinks Viloria fought the wrong kind of fight against Estrada and doesn't plan on making the same mistake.
He has carefully studied Estrada's previous fights and together with his team which includes former bantamweight contender Michael Domingo and Edmund Villamor has devised a game-plan for the fight.
Vilamor, a former wold title challenger to the great Ricardo Lopez who celebrates his birthday today, believes that Melindo is in the best shape of his career after three months of solid training t the famed ALA Gym and is ready to take the coveted WBO and WBA belts back to the Philippines.