IT was only four years ago when Mark Jason 'Mighty' Melligen was one of the hottest prospects in the junior welterweight (140 pounds) division. The Bacolod City native, gifted with a Joe Weider-chiseled body and a hammer-like left, paraded at the time an impressive record of 16-1 with 12 knockouts.
In a bid to intensify his ring campaign, Melligen relocated to the United States in late 2008. Believe it or not, Melligen got to rub mitts with Floyd Mayweather Jr. and the American lauded the Filipino beak-buster for the quality sparring he provided for his comeback fight against Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez. Mayweather manhandled Marquez in September 2009 and went on to scale unbelievable heights. Melligen? He got lost in his own hype and ultimately ended in the gutter.
Fast forward to the present day: Just a few days ago, Melligen was arrested by the police in Mandaue City after being caught sniffing shabu during a buy-bust operation. He claimed that he has been homeless since 2011 and accused his former promotional outfit, ALA Boxing Promotions, of failing to give him his purse for a fight he lost in Texas, an accusation that has since been sternly denied by the company.
One of four children, Melligen was introduced to boxing by his father Gerardo at age five. He figured in about 160 bouts as an amateur and collared two silver medals in the Southeast Asian Games before turning professional in April 2006 with a first-round knockout of Roland Malonhao. Melligen won his first six fights, five by knockouts, before getting stopped in seven rounds by South Korean Young Sun Kim in February 2007. Melligen rebounded strongly from the defeat, winning his next 10 fights, seven by knockout. He made a triumphant debut in United States in March 2009, stopping Mexican Gerardo Prieto in five rounds.
Melligen toted a 16-1 win-loss record when he started losing his focus on the main prize. In November 2009, Melligen dropped a close split decision to Mexican Michael Rosales in a welterweight (147 pounds) bout. The defeat was initially dismissed as an aberration since it came just hours after Melligen watched Z Gorres' near fatal bout against Luis Melendez. Melligen did regroup, winning his next five fights, including a big decision win over Mexican prospect Gabriel Martinez in February 2011.
Melligen seemed well on his way when he got too cocky for his own good. He did not show up in shape for his next fight (July 2011) and paid the price against Argentinean Sebastian Andres Lujan. A huge underdog, Lujan floored a winded Melligen four times before finishing him for good in the ninth round.
Melligen was never the same fighter after that. ALA Boxing Promotions dropped Melligen from its roster after the Lujan fight and the guy disappeared from the boxing radar. He did not return to the ring until a year later, July 16, 2012, when he stopped the doughnut-knitted Dondon Lapuz in one round. Melligen fought again in September in Pasay City before losing his way in the world of drugs and booze.
Melligen's recent arrest for drugs confirms his nasty fall from grace. At the peak of his career, Melligen's purse rocketed to as high as half-a-million pesos, but he was living in the streets at the time of his arrest. Unless it is established by the authorities that he is also involved in drugs peddling, Melligen is likely to get a reprieve and head straight to a rehabilitation center. Melligen's boxing record currently stands at 23-3 with 16 knockouts and he is still young at 27, but there are more serious battles up ahead that he desperately needs to win. His boxing career over, Melligen needs to beat up the demons within that are threatening to consume him.