MANILA, Philippines - In the eyes of Milan Melindo, reigning WBO and WBA flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada of Mexico is an ordinary fighter.
“He is only a world champion when he wears those belts but inside the ring, he is just an ordinary fighter,” the Filipino challenger told www.fightnews.com.
The two fighters square off at The Venetian in Macau tonight.
Melindo, undefeated in 29 fights, is out to snatch the titles from Estrada who dethroned Brian Viloria last April in the same venue.
But Melindo has to be in his best element because Estrada was far from being ordinary when he outpointed Viloria three months ago. He is a classy fighter.
Melindo was at ringside when Estrada defeated Viloria, and shortly after the match the pride of Cebu said during a press conference he has what it takes to beat the Mexican.
“Estrada is not that strong. He wasn’t able to knock Viloria out. I can beat him,” said Melindo.
Estrada is two years younger and two inches taller than Melindo, but the Filipino said he prefers facing taller opponents.
“That’s what he said. He wants to fight taller opponents,” said ALA Promotions vice president Dennis Canete.
Both fighters weighed in at 111.6 pounds yesterday.
“Melindo is the number one rated fighter. I’m happy to fight the best. It’s a great experience to learn from the best so as to become the number one,” Estrada said.
The Estrada-Melindo title fight is under “Fists of Gold II” card bannered by China’s two-time Olympic gold medalist Zou Shiming who will figure in his second pro fight, this time against Mexico’s Jesus Ortega.
Manny Pacquiao, the Filipino boxing icon, will be at ringside to watch Melindo in his first crack at the world title.
Pacquiao is set to face Brandon Rios on Nov. 24 also at The Venetian. They will face the press today at noon to drum up their coming fight.
Pacquiao is coming off two straight losses to Tim Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez and will be hard-pressed to score an impressive win over Rios.
The two boxers will embark on a press tour that will take them to Beijing on July 29, Shanghai on July 31, New York on Aug. 6 and Los Angeles on Aug. 8.