By Robert Brizel, Head RCM Boxing Correspondent
Pennsylvania boxing matchmaker and trainer Mike Melendez worked the corner of welterweights George Sosa and John Nater as part of a five bout card on Monday evening, February 10, 2014, at Cowboys Dance Hall in San Antonio, Texas
Real Combat Media: “George Sosa normally fights at welterweight. Why did he go up in weight for his bout in Texas?”
Mike Melendez: “George was training for a fight in Hollywood California at 147 pounds, they never sent our airplane tickets. So I said let’s take this fight, on a week’s notice.”
Real Combat Media: “George Sosa lost an eight round decision. Was the bout closer than the scoring indicated?”
Readers Note: Terrell Gausha decisioned George Sosa at middleweight by scores of 80-72, 80-72, and 79-73. Gausha, a 2012 Olympian at middleweight for the United States in London, is now 8-0 with five knockouts.
Mike Melendez: “Yeah, the bout was closer than the scoring, but for the most part it is what is. You go up against a fighter of that caliber-you gotta knock him out to win. That’s just the way it is. Even if it was a closer fight, regardless, we would have won the fight on points, but we would never have gotten it. When you fight a name fighter-the judges are more sympathetic to him. Even if it was a closer fight than it was, we would never have gotten it (the decision). We had to go up two weight classes. Sosa’s power was not evident at 158. He’s very evident at 150.”
Real Combat Media: “You worked the corner of welterweight John Nater in the main event against southpaw Fidel Maldonado Jr.”
Mike Melendez: “Nater was still trying to lose weight that morning before the weigh in. We had him in the sauna, and we had him jumping ropes two hours before the weigh in. He made weight. It (the process of having to lose weight at the last minute) very depleted him. He came in from Puerto Rico and he was four pounds over his weight limit. Obviously they weren’t doing the work over there. He’s a very game fighter. Nater was down twice, in the third and fourth rounds, and he waited to the count of eight before he would stand up. Fidel Maldonado Jr. is a very very dangerous hard puncher.”
Reader’s Note: Fidel Maldonado Jr. stopped John Nater by referee’s technical decision in four rounds. Nater’s corner stopped the contest after the end of the fourth round.
Real Combat Media: “How did you feel traveling from Pennsylvania down south, and winding up deep in the heart of Texas?”
Mike Melendez: “The bouts were held in San Antonio. I went and visited the Alamo. San Antonio is a very beautiful nice city, and the people are so polite. I don’t think I’ve ever been treated nicer. So nice it makes you want to stay. We would have minded staying a couple of days after the fights, the people are so nice!”