By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Bantamweight Michael Domingo, one of the most skilled fighters in the famed ALA Gym who like Z “The Dream” Gorres has had his fair share of bad luck despite all his labors, gets a chance to re-enter the spotlight on Labor Day, May 1 when he faces Colombia’s rugged Luis Melendez who despite a lopsided loss to Gorres effectively ended the career of the stylish southpaw at the Mandalay Bay House of Blues last November 13, 2009.
Gorres collapsed in his corner after the victory and had to be rushed to the University Medical Center in Las Vegas where he underwent emergency brain surgery from which he is recovering very well in what doctors regard as a minor miracle.
For Domingo whose progress in the world rankings was stymied when he was found to have Hepatitis “B” in a medical examination prior to a major fight in the US had longed for a chance to regain his status as a bantamweight contender and believes the fight against Melendez is the perfect opportunity.
In a news conference in Cebu, Domingo said “This fight is personal. This fight is a very emotional one for me. I cried when I learned what happened to Gorres. I want to show my friend Gorres what I can do.”
A compact boxer Domingo noted that Melendez is a fighter who comes forward adding “I love opponents who come forward and fight , not those who run and seem ready to jump out of the ring. If the fight ends early so much the better.”
ALA Promotions president, youthful Michael Aldeguer told the media that they had tried to get a title shot for Domingo but he “has been avoided by Fernando Montiel (the WBO champion) and Yohnny Perez (IBF champion).” Domingo is rated No. 11 by the IBF.
ALA Gym had suggested that Domingo replace Gorres after the tragic accident that ended his career. But there were claims that Montiel had declined to fight Domingo which somehow has raised suspicions after Ciso “Kid Terrible” Morales a super bantamweight was inexplicably rated No. 5 bantamweight and was matched against the vastly superior Montiel and was crushed in the first round at the Las Vegas Hilton last February 13.
Aldeguer said the fight against Melendez will be Domingo’s first appearance as a main event fighter and it would give him a chance “to show the world how good he really is” even as he hoped that a good performance will help Domingo move up in the world ratings.
Domingo impressed Golden Boy Promotions officials in the Philippines vs Mexico World Cup of Boxing at the Arco Arena in Sacramento in August 2007 when he stunned previously undefeated Oscar De La Hoya protégé Miguel Roman (20-0, 17 KO’s) to score a six round shutout.
Nicknamed “Bruce Lee” Domingo’s record of 39-14-2 with 17 knockouts doesn’t look impressive on paper but that’s because most of the losses came early in his career when he was not properly handled. However, things began to improve rather dramatically after he moved to the ALA gym of respected boxing patron Tony Aldeguer some years ago.
Aside from Roman, Domingo has big wins over former world bantamweight champion Ratanachai Sor Vorapin and title challenger Jose Navarro over whom Domingo scored an 8th round TKO last October 3 in Manila.
Melendez has a record of 26-5-1 with 21 knockouts and is known for his rugged style and power having dropped WBO champion Montiel before losing and also decking Gorres in the final secomds of their showdown in Las Vegas.
The exciting fight card which will be telecast by the giant broadcast network ABS-CBN will also feature the resurgent southpaw Jimrex Jaca, Philippine and regional lightweight champion Jason Pagara and promising James Bacon. It will be staged at the plush ballroom of the Waterfront Hotel in Cebu.