By Derek Bonnett: ALA Boxing Promotions has assembled another sizzling showcase of world class boxing on August 28 at the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel in Cebu, Philippines. The card will feature Florante Condes, Jimrex Jaca, Rey "Boom Boom" Bautista, and Milan Melindo in separate bouts.
Condes, 23-5-1 (20), a former strawweight champion, will be looking to stay sharp against Sofyan Effendi as he waits on his next title opportunity, which is rumored to be in the making. Jaca, 30-6-3 (15), a former world title challenger, will also look to get back into the mix against Pipino Cuevas Jr.
However, the fighters with the brightest futures on the card just might be Bautista and Melindo. The two are in the midst of a rigorous training camp with their trainer Ala Villamor, who once took the great Ricardo Lopez the distance in a strawweight championship bout. Villamor is pleased with the progress of his two charges and expects strong showings from both young men.
Bautista, 24, has been in with top flight opposition in the past, but it was perhaps too soon for the Filipino fighter, who was more prospect than contender at the time. "Boom Boom", 28-2 (21), challenged the heavy hitting Daniel Ponce De Leon for his WBO super bantamweight title back in 2007 and suffered a quick demise in the first round. A loss to tough veteran Heriberto Ruiz followed a few fights later and a nagging wrist injury further hindered the featherweight’s progress.
"The wrist is not a problem anymore," Villamor asserted. "It’s good and it’s all healed. There are no physical issues about his injury."
Physical health is only a part of the equation for Bautista’s improved success among the 126 pound elites. However, one must wonder if he has overcome the emotional wounds of his two defeats and built up enough confidence in his subsequent victories. Bautista’s opponent, Alejandro Barrera, may help in this department as he has already been stopped earlier in 2010.
"Rey is different now. He is willing to comeback and make us Filipinos proud again," Villamor explained. "His dedication and determination are still there. [Also,] there is a fire in his eyes to become a world champion."
Barrera, although 20-3(13), may be seen as a springboard for bigger opportunities for Team Bautista, but that hasn’t prevented Villamor from voicing caution and concern for his pupil. After all, Ruiz was viewed similarly before their eight round clash and it was the veteran who walked away with the victory.
"We hope Bautista will win this coming fight. This is a make or brake fight and we know the Mexican fighter is very tough and strong," Villamor admitted. " This is a hard fight for him and a big test. ALA Promotions President, Michael Aldeguer, promotes the fights of Bautista and he has big plans for him if he wins this fight on August 28. We just concentrate on one fight at a time. He is fighting now at 126 pounds, so let’s see what happens on August 28 in Cebu."
Leading up to this night, Villamor is also splitting his attention with rising prospect Milan Melindo, who scored an excellent decision victory over Muhammad Rachman at 105 pounds in 2009. Melindo, who is only 22 years of age, has remained unbeaten at 21-0 (6), but has had difficulty living up to the typhoon, "Milenyo", he was nicknamed after. He has fought as high as flyweight in his more recent outings.
"Milan Melindo is a skillful boxer," Villamor said. "He knows how to handle his opponent and he knows how to adjust to the style of his opponent. There is no problem about the weight he is fighting at for this fight. We are confident, but we are more inclined to fight at 108 pounds for the championship and not as a flyweight. Maybe in one more year from now he will go back up to flyweight. He’s still young and is determined to become a world champion."
Similarly to Bautista, if not more so, Melindo is taking on an opponent he is expected to beat. However, Villamor looks to the experience of Jin Man Jeon as the real value of this fight and expects his fighter to learn a lesson in the ring.
"Jeon he has a record of thirteen wins in seventeen fights," Villamor stated. "He fought Takefumi Sakata, a former world WBA flyweight champion, but lost the fight by unanimous decision. We see this as a hard fight for Milan. He is a good and skillful fighter and, at the age of twenty-two, he’s still young. We have plenty of time to develop things like his power. We need to concentrate more on his power."
So, how has Villamor been challenged by working simultaneously with Bautista, a respected puncher, and Melindo, a feather-fisted stylist?
"They have a big difference in style of fighting and this is a big challenge for us," Villamor conceded. "Bautista wants to be aggressive and Melindo is a technical and thinking fighter.
"We are all friends though. I am a big brother to them and they respect the team. We don’t have any problems with their attitude as boxers or as people."
Villamor, clearly a loving and caring trainer, who puts his fighters before himself was also pleased to report continued progress in the rehabilitation of Z Gorres, whose career recently ended after suffering a head injury during his final victory. According to Villamor, Gorres is again walking on his own without assistance.
The August 28 ALA Promotions card in Cebu should prove to be a memorable evening of boxing and world boxing fans can look forward to continued coverage of these promising Filipino fighters at Secondsout.
Contact Derek Bonnett on Facebook or at firstname.lastname@example.org for further boxing discussion.
August 22, 2010AQ