With less than two weeks to prepare for perhaps the biggest fight of his boxing career so far, Mark Jason Melligen (21-2, 14 KOs) clearly understands the gravity of the situation he is in. He knows he needs to win – and win with an emphatic victory come July 1st over former world champion Freddy Hernandez (29-2, 20 KOs).
Hernandez is Melligen’s toughest and most heralded opponent to date. Hernandez suffered a first-round knockout in his recent outing, a welterweight title clash with then WBC champion Andre Berto. Hernandez also figured in two other world title fights for the IBA welterweight championship in 2007 and 2008. The first matchup against Roberto Garcia was declared a “no contest”. On his second attempt, Hernandez outpointed journeyman Norberto Bravo.
Aside from the names mentioned above, Hernandez has also earned victories over a number of former world titleholders and highly-ranked contenders, including ex-world champions Mike Anchondo and DeMarcus Corley, as well as the very crude but entertaining Jesus Soto Karass.
Melligen has been impressive in his most recent fight as well – a unanimous decision win over former Mexican welterweight champion Gabriel Martinzez. A victory by Melligen against Hernandez will certainly increase his stock within the boxing circuits, as their matchup will be televised in the United States.
Known to be a pure boxer, a characteristic Melligen openly admits, the Bacolod City native certainly gets the gist that he needs a very convincing win is needed if he wants to score big fights with big names in the future. The very timid Melligen is not that aggressive as seen in his recent fights, though he can knock his opponents out.
“I keep telling him it’s important for him to throw more combos and finish his opponents off. You have to make people look up and say ‘Wow, he has power,'” Melligen’s trainer Tony Martin told Ryan Songalia of GMA News.
Top Rank’s Bob Arum, whose eyes are fixed on Meliigen, promises the young Filipino matches with former world alphabet champion and heavy banger Kermit Cintron or undefeated American welterweight star Mike Jones if Melligen wins big against Hernandez.
The lanes are now open for Meliigen. All he needs to do is deliver.
Photo credits: Mark Jason Melligen