MACAU – Filipino Milan Melindo watched with keen interest at ringside as Juan Francisco Estrada hacked out a split decision win over Brian Viloria to wrest the World Boxing Organization (WBO) and World Boxing Association (WBA) flyweight crowns.
Based on what he saw, the unbeaten 26-year-old fighter from Cagayan de Oro City believes he has what it takes to beat the newly-crowned champion from Hermosillo, Mexico.
“I can handle him,” Melindo said emphatically during his post-fight press conference that preceded the grand boxing card on Saturday night at The Venetian Hotel headlined by the debuting Chinese Olympic hero Zou Shiming.
Melindo was part of the eight-fight card put up by Top Rank Promotions along with Viloria and the Penalosa brothers Dave and Dodie Boy Jr.
Currently the top attraction of Cebu-based ALA boxing stable, Melindo was impressive in his fight against Tommy Seran of Indonesia, whom he knocked out in the fifth round of their scheduled 10-round flyweight match.
The win hiked his record to 29-0, with 12 KOs, as he remained the WBO’s No. 1 ranked contender in the 112 lbs. division.
Melindo has been vocal about avoiding as much as possible a title fight pitting him against the 32-year-old Viloria.
But now that the `Hawaiian Punch’ has been dethroned by Estrada, Melindo said he’s more than willing to take on the Mexican, who sports a record of 23-2, with 17 KOs.
“Estrada is not strong,” Melindo stressed. “”He didn’t even knock out Viloria.”
“I think I will win in a fight to be made sooner against Estrada,” he added.
Top Rank Promotions chairman Bob Arum has not discounted Estrada making his first title defense against Melindo in a fight being eyed sometime in July or August.
The veteran promoter is again looking to stage the championship match in this gambling mecca especially with Melindo proving to be a big hit with the crowd at the Cotai Arena.