By Jake Donovan
Javier Mendoza made the first successful defense of his junior flyweight title, outpointing Milan Melindo in a foul-plagued affair Saturday evening in Ensenada, Mexico.
Scores were 60-52 (twice) and 59-53 in favor of Mendoza in a bout that was stopped at 2:39 of round six due to an accidental clash of heads.
Not only was the bout never really competitive, but it appeared that Melindo's principal strategy was to get himself disqualified. An assortment of fouls came early and often, beginning with a clash of heads occurring early in the opening round. Melindo was warned for a low blow late in the round, a sequence that saw both fighters hit the deck, though no official knockdown was called in either direction.
Mendoza did his best to remain poised, taking the fight to the visiting Filipino challenger. What clean moments came of the night were consistently in Mendoza's favor. His rhythm was constantly disrupted, however, by Melindo's antics.
More low blows came in the ensuing rounds before Melindo received a long overdue point deduction in round five. The fight came to a close in round six, a frame that saw both fighters suffer cuts as the result of separate accidental headbutts.
Melindo was sliced over his right eye, but declared fit for combat as the action continued. Mendoza wasn't afforded a similar fate when a headbutt left him with a deep cut over his left eye. The ringside physician decided the local southpaw was not in condition to continue, ordering for an immediate end to the bout.
Because the fight ended on a foul after the completion of the fourth round, it was eligible to go to the scorecards. Mendoza was a rightful winner, losing just one round on one card as he improves to 24-2-1 (19KOs).
Melindo ends a three-fight win streak in falling to 32-2 (12KOs). His lone previous loss also came in a failed title bid, dropping a wide decision to Juan Francisco Estrada nearly two years ago in Macau, China. Saturday's bout was his first outside of Asia.
As for the Mendoza, the win was his 11th straight. None was bigger than his upset points win over Ramon Garcia last September, collecting the vacant title. Saturday marked his first successful defense, with a 2nd round knockout of Mauricio Fuentes in January having taken place outside the weight in a non-title affair.
The bout aired live on TV Azteca in Mexico and via slight delay on beIN Sport Espanol in the United States.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox