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Melindo sees easy fight but Mexico's Esquer says ALA standout will fall down

CEBU, Philippines - Exuding much confidence, ALA Boxing Gym star Milan "El Metodico" Melindo foresees an easy fight when he defends his WBO Intercontinental flyweight belt against Mexican Juan "Panterita" Esquer in the main event of the "Pinoy Pride XI:Philippines vs. The World" this Saturday evening at the Pacific Grand Ballroom of Waterfront-Cebu City Hotel and Casino.

"I trained not for him [Esquer] but for a world title fight. This fight is very easy for me," boldly declared Melindo during the event's final press conference yesterday at the Aegean room of plush hotel.

 Seated just a few inches apart, Esquer calmy took Melindo's stingy verbal shot.

"His words don't shock me because I have already fought seven world champions. For me, he is a newbie," said Esquer through his Cebuano interpreter Mon Escaño.

So brazen Esquer was that he even told Melindo straight to the face, "tumbahon tika (I will knock you down."

"I'm here to win. I came prepared very strongly. You will see on Saturday how Melindo will fall," said Esquer. "I hope the judges won't help him because he's fighting in his hometown."

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But Melindo shut down any possibility of Esquer pulling an upset, more so derail his hot pursuit for world championship.

"If he's wiser than me, he can beat me. If not, he can beat me in his dreams," said the Cagayan de Oro City-native warrior. "I just hope he will make good of his promise to knock me it out in the early rounds because if not, it's the other way around."

For his part, ALA chief trainer Edito Villamor said his ward couldn't be too overconfident knowing the fighting spirit of the Mexican ring gladiators.

"We can't take the Mexicans lightly because they're here to fight and win. But we're ready for everything. With the two boxers aching to score a knockout, then expect one of them to fall down," said Villamor.

The 23-year-old Melindo is hard-pressed to beat Esquer as he is lined up for a world title shot next.

"We'll keep fighting and we'll keep preparing him for a possible world title fight. Let's wait and see what will happen this Saturday," said ALA promotions president Michael P. Aldeguer.

In the supporting main event of the six-nation card presented by ALA Promotions and ABS-CBN Sports, two tough warriors with devastating punching powers will slug it out in Lorenzo "Thunderbolt" Villanueva (21-0, 20KOs) and Diego "Tyson" Ledesma (18-4-2, 12KOs).

The rest of the exciting undercards feature the undefeated Oriental and Pacific Boxing Federation miniflyweight titlist Merlito Sabillo (16-0, 7KOs) vs. Indonesian Sofyan Effendi (11-11-2, 9KOs); Mhar Jhun Macahilig (13-1, 7 KOs) vs. Thai Kaichon Sor Vorapin (25-10, 9KOs); and Joseph Von Minoza (12-2, 5 KOs) vs. South Korean Yoo Shin Kim (8-2, 6KOs).

Meanwhile, the official weigh-in will take place at 11 am today at The Event Centre of SM City-Cebu. (FREEMAN)

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