If Milan Melindo wants to unify the IBF and WBA light flyweight belts, he will have to take the fight to his fellow champion Ryoichi Taguchi.
Boxing analyst Ed Tolentino said that, being the shorter fighter, Melindo needs to close the distance against the 5-foot-5 Taguchi.
“Melindo will have to be the one to initiate the hostilities. Usually, when the smaller boxer takes on the taller boxer, the taller boxer tends to just keep the jab up,” he explained.
“Melindo will have to take chances, bob and weave a little, get under that jab of Taguchi. Melindo may be smaller, but Taguchi has a lot of weaknesses he can take advantage of.”
Melindo, nicknamed “El Metodico,” will take on Taguchi at the latter’s territory in Tokyo on December 31.
“Melindo is no stranger to fighting in foreign soil, he even looks good when the odds are against him, just note the devastating knockout of (Akira) Yaegashi (in May),” said Tolentino.
What concerns the analyst is the cuts Melindo sustained during his previous fight against South African bruiser Hekkie Budler in September.
“I only hope he is fully healed because Melindo is prone to cuts. Taguchi will stick out the jab and pepper him once Melindo bleeds,” he said.
But hunger and motivation can propel Melindo to victory, he said. “Being a unified champion is what drives Melindo, that is the legacy he wants to leave.”
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