CEBU CITY, Philippines – Bleeding from a nasty cut on his left eyelid that blurred his vision, Milan Melindo survived the pounding fists of Venezuelan Jean Piero Perez late Saturday night in what had been planned as his coming-out party.
Instead of exiting the ring with his face unmarked, Melindo had to endure the late rally of Perez to score a 12-round majority decision before a highly-appreciative crowd at the Waterfront Hotel-Lahug.
Two judges scored it 116-112 and 115-113 for Melindo, while the third judge saw it 114-114, allowing Melindo to retain not only his World Boxing Organization International flyweight title but keep his unbeaten record intact.
Melindo staggered Perez with a left hook to the head in the first round and even if he tied himself up, he went down after losing his balance. Referee Bruce McTavish did not rule it a knockdown.
Melindo stepped up the attack in the fourth round by going to the body but Perez weathered the storm and wisely used his movement to render the strategy useless in the succeeding rounds when he started to find his range and establish rhythm.
As the rounds passed, Melindo began to miss his money shots while Perez looked as though he had found his second wind, hitting Melindo with a bevy of shots that produced a cut on the Filipino.
“I could only see from one eye and it was hard for me,“ said Melindo, who headlined the highly-popular Pinoy Pride series on TV. (Nick Giongco)