Milan Melindo-Ryoichi Taguchi: Pre-Fight Report Card

by Cliff Rold

It’s the last big fight of 2017 for those who realized the year isn’t done just yet.

While many a US press outlet has put in their fighter and fight of the year bids, there is still one fight that could affect at least the honorable mention categories of both. Filipino Milan Melindo fell short in title tries at flyweight and Jr. flyweight before exploding with his best campaign to date. He finally won a title with a shocking first round thrashing of Akira Yaegashi and won a tough fight with former Strawweight titlist Hekkie Budler. Now he has a chance to unify two titles at 108 lbs.

If he does, his year rates as one of the best of 2017.

Taguchi won’t be a pushover. A beltholder since 2014, Taguchi has been a steady force in the class and has home field advantage. Barring a draw, someone is going to have their biggest win to date as they toast the dawn of 2018.


Let’s go the report card.

The Ledgers

Milan Melindo

Age: 29

Title: IBF light flyweight (2017-Present, 1 Defense)

Previous Titles: None

Height: 5’2

Weight: 107 ½ lbs.

Hails from: Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines

Record: 37-2, 13 KO

Record in Major Title Fights: 2-2, 1 KO (3-2, 1 KO including interim title fights)

Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced: Carlos Tamara UD10, Juan Francisco Estrada L12, Javier Mendoza Tech. Dec. L6, Akira Yaegashi TKO1, Hekkie Budler SD12


Ryoichi Taguchi

Age: 31

Title: WBA light flyweight (2014-Present, 6 Defenses)

Previous Titles: None

Height: 5’6

Weight: 107 ¾ lbs.

Hails from: Tokyo, Japan

Record: 26-2-2, 12 KO

Record in Major Title Fights: 6-0-1, 4 KO

Current/Former World Champions/Titlists Faced: Naoya Inoue L10, Florante Condes UD8, Alberto Rossell UD12, Kwanthai Sithmorseng TKO8, Ryo Miyazaki UD12,


Pre-Fight: Speed – Melindo B; Taguchi B

Pre-Fight: Power – Melindo C+; Taguchi B-

Pre-Fight: Defense – Melindo B-; Taguchi C+ 

Pre-Fight: Intangibles – Melindo B; Taguchi B

Taguchi can always say he was the first man to take iron fisted Naoya Inoue the distance, even if it was only Inoue’s fourth fight. That he hasn’t lost since is why he’s here. Both men have solid experience against several title level fighters. Melindo’s losses both came to good pros, particularly in the case of Estrada.

Moving down from flyweight as been a sound move for Melindo, even after an early stumble in a lackluster outing against Mendoza. He works well off the jab and is patient. His jab will matter here because Taguchi likes to press and often neglects his own lead.

Size could play a part here. Taguchi is a few inches taller and appears to have a slightly larger frame. If he can impose that frame, his winging hooks could land before Melindo has the space he wants to work. Neither man is a huge puncher but Taguchi has shown more finishing touch since he won a title. A knockout loss would be a first no matter who wins.

The Pick

This is a good mix of styles. Taguchi’s front foot approach could capture the eyes of the judges and Melindo is coming off a physical affair with the smaller Budler last time out. Melindo’s jab and footwork could serve him well in spots but he has to do something to keep Taguchi from smothering him and that will be touch to do for twelve rounds. The pick here is Taguchi in a fight where there could be some debate at the final bell.

Report Card Picks 2017: 45-18

Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel, the Yahoo Pound for Pound voting panel, and the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at [email protected]

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Turd Best Ever on 12-31-2017

[URL=""][/URL] Bob Sapp vs a bear on now. Broadcast should start less than a hour.

Comment by SceneBoxer on 12-31-2017

I'm rooting for Melindo. What a year for him if he wins this unification fight against Taguchi. May - KOed the champ in 1 round to get the belt; Sept - very tough SD win on his 1st defense; Dec…

Comment by greenarcher89 on 12-31-2017

Taguchi by decision

Comment by 1hourRun on 12-31-2017

Props to Melindo for stepping in after Tanaka suffered two broken eye sockets to bring us another unification: the bonus is that we are about to find out who between Inoue and Estrada has the better win hehe...but seriously this…

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (4)
Top Headlines Joshua on Parker's Steroid Jabs: I'm Clean, I'd Never Do That Skoglund Update, Castano-Vitu News, Badou Jack, Wallin, More Joseph Parker: Joshua Has Rematch Clause, But I Don't Need One Hearn Offers Alexander Povetkin Slot On Joshua vs. Parker Card Mundine: Horn is a White Boy, Gets Coverage Because He's White! Video: Anthony Joshua Reacts To Steroid Comments From Parker Lenroy Thomas vs. David Allen II Added To Brook-Rabchenko Card News: Kovalev-Mikhalkin, Spence-Peterson, WBSS, More Valdez, Quigg Promise To Stage Action-Packed War at StubHub Photos: Anthony Joshua, Joseph Parker - Tense Face To Face Parker: Tyson Fury Might Walk Me to the Ring for Joshua Fight Promoter: Other Than Klitschko, Joshua, Parker Resumes Similar Peterson's Trainer: Fight Against Errol Spence Will Turn Into a War Bivol: Hard to Tell From Two Rounds If Kovalev All the Way Back's Television Picks of The Week Mundine: If Horn Says No - Then I Want Saunders, Canelo, GGG Errol Spence vs. Lamont Peterson - Calm Before The Storm Fury: Me and Joshua is Four Round Fight - Either I Go or He Goes! Parker Regrets Making Steroid Comments About Anthony Joshua Big Fights, Big Finales, Better Judging Top Wish List For 2018 Jamel Herring Signs With Top Rank, Will Fight on Crawford-Horn Luis Ortiz Vows Pain: I'll Tear The Skin Off Deontay Wilder's Body! Estrada: People Think Sor Rungvisai Will KO Me - It Won't Happen! Creed 2 Update: Actor Cast To Play Ivan Drago's Son in Film Mayorga Emotional: Time To Hang Up The Gloves, Say Goodbye Rapper Common is Producing a New Boxing Documentary Tyson Fury: If I'm Honest - I Fancy Parker To Beat Joshua Wilder: No Doubt I'll KO Ortiz, Joshua-Parker Will Be a Long Fight Katie Taylor Dublin Return Off, Being Pushed To Daniel Jacobs Bill Frank Warren: Fans Lost Interest in Amir Khan, He'll Face a Stiff Euro News: Murat-Demchenko, Havnaa-Tahiri, Formella-Frank Briggs: I'll KO Tyson Fury, Breaks All His Fingers To End His Tweets Wilder: I'll Make an Example of Luis Ortiz, He's My Guinea Pig! Frank Warren Confirms Tete is Out, 2/10 Show Moves Forward Sean Dodd vs. Tommy Coyle Set, April 21 In Liverpool Weekend Review: Shields, Amir Khan, Ergashev, Spence, More Hearn: Let's Be Honest, Who Has Hit Parker's 'Granite Chin?' Parker's Promoter: Joshua Mentally Weak, Dropped Many Times Luis Ortiz: Forget The Marijuana, Now Wilder Has a Real Problem! Parker: I Don't Care If I Win or Lose; Someone Gets Knocked Out

Latest Active Forum Threads