Mendez, Is TV Ready?
Paul Mendez (13-2-1 5KO) is making a case that he should be on television. The IBA Middleweight champion, whose only two loses are disputed decisions early in his career, is continuing his trend of slick boxing and ability to overpower foes at the right time. Rahman Yusbov (9-11 7KO), most notable for beating James Page, just appeared outgunned and the worse for wear. In the first round, Mendez cracked Yusbov with a thunderous right that would have moved a boulder from Mt. Olympus had Yusbov not been doing an unorthodox type of squat that nearly flattened him to the floor.
The next few stanzas of the fight provided not much change in variety from the second. Yusbov would catch Mendez with a few punches and exchange some, reminiscent of his fight against Adolfo Contreras in which Mendez exchanged a bit more than maybe his corner would have hoped. Yet, even with this occurring it was clear the well-educated jab of Mendez, one that spoke more than one language, was able to belittle Yusvov who by the fourth round was bloody and bruised in all parts of the face and was merely fighting off heart.
Yusbov’s punches began to form into slow slaps as it appeared by the fifth that Mendez found a home for the lead hand hook to the body that had been landing periodically in the early rounds. It now stung like a baseball bat to the rib cage. Yusbov survived the fifth, but had nothing more than that as he went back to his corner and explained simply he had nothing more. The fight was called between rounds and according to many ringside observers it could have been stopped in the fifth and maybe even the fourth as Mendez stepped on the gas and was simply overpowering Yusbov with volume and power making it a very rough night for Yusvov.
Mendez, should be stepping up to the top 10 of the middleweight class since he is on the fringe of being there and with J’Leon Love coming off a suspension, this could be an interesting fight that networks would buy. For right now, Mendez’s goal is to defend the IBA title he has and continue to deliver against whom ever is placed in front of him as the middleweight division is top heavy, but in need of some new faces to spice things up. Heading into 2014, Mendez could be the man to do the job.
Escalante Continues to Please
Bruno Escalante (10-1-1 5KO) is building the reputation of being one of the most exciting fighters in the lighter weights and in the Northern California area. He is well on his way to becoming a star as had great drawing power in Redwood City, CA – the area in which he trains. Escalante, a junior bantamweight, could now be looking at a shot at the IBA junior bantamweight title after his hard fought victory over Joseph Rios (13-8-2 KO), who showed himself to be a very live dog.
Escalante, who was the better pure boxer, had problems with Rios’ size and strength as at times Escalante would get bullied to the ropes and held there for moments on end, in particular the fifth and seventh round. With Rios landing solid punches, that for many other fighters would have been game changers, but not Escalante. “This ain’t nothing, brother! We have seen it before,” Michael Bazzel of Escalante’s corner said to him. As the coded language of the corner used Escalante’s abbreviated nickname “Aloha” without the kid as a way for setting up a punch. “Look for the aloha” became a common phrase later in the fight.
Escalante, who on some people’s scorecard needed the last round to win, came out and took it to Rios in the final frame. Escalante showed that he understood what was needed of him and the responsibility he had in the squared circle on this very night. Escalante now will look for one more fight before next year after facing one of his toughest foes to date. Escalante will look to potentially fight back in Redwood City in his next affair where shirts barring his nickname “The Aloha Kid” can be seen from any angle in the crowd.
Mendez Upsets Top Prospect Pinell
Eric Mendez (3-1 2KO) came into Saturday’s event unknown too many in the Northern California and left unpopular as he stopped Ricardo Pinell (5-1-1 4KO) in the second round a little before the two minute mark. Pinell, who is a popular fighter had plenty of support with his “Boxing is not a sport, it’s a lifestyle” shirt all over the arena. Mendez who was outboxed in the first round came back to land a sharp counter punch that proved to be a game changer.
With Pinell hurt and unable to clinch, he hit the deck and just mere seconds later found himself in the corner being outworked and stopped by Mendez, the first loss of his career. Pinell, who had gotten some heat over the Mike Alexander fight stoppage, which led to Alexander being taken out on a stretcher, fed media who seemed to cling with joy to the idea that the previously unbeaten fighter had fallen.
Nonetheless, Mendez, a boxer with a strong amateur background and just in the infancy of his pro career, has gotten a big win in his career and it should be interesting to see where he goes from here. The Southern California native, Mendez, will now be in the driver’s seat for his career and could be fighting for a regional belt sooner rather than later. Mendez showed that he has game changing power that can hurt a naturally bigger man, as well as the fact that he stayed composed against a fighter who is known to be a slick fighter who outclasses and often disheartens young fighters.
Vences Turns Up, Price wins
Andy Vences (4-0 2KO) said he wanted rounds when I talked to him prior to his last fight, a fourth round stoppage of Noe Lucas. Well, he got his first taste of adversity in the pros and passed with flying colors. This test came in the form of Matthew Flores (0-3), who fought beyond his record and at times put heavy pressure on Vences forcing him back to have to stay composed and when given the chance embody the saying on his hat, “Turn up”.
Vences who is known for his power showed lighting quick hands and a stealth fighter jet of a jab as his stick and move seemed to step up his combination punching which won him the fight. Vences, who is continuing his progression needs to show improvement from fight to fight. Vences still appeared frustrated as two of the judges scored him losing a round, making the totals tallying 39-37 on two cards for Vences and a clean sweep on the others. They say perfectionists can sometimes become champions and the Vences’ frustration over losing a round seemed eerily similar. We will have to wait and see how the rest goes.
Darwin Price (2-0 1KO) , the former track and field athlete, who could of chosen that career as his profession, showed why he is going to be a problem for a lot of welterweights. The fast hands and elusive style make him similar to a gazelle in the ring and with power as well. Johnny Frazier (2-20-4 2KO) did what you would expect trying to time Darwin with a right over the jab and the first two rounds he had his moments.
The thing is Darwin is a much more diverse fighter and used his jab as a way to dictate the distance of the fight and paint up Frazier’s face. Darwin who barely took any damage except for a few counters carried Paul Mendez’s IBA title the ring in the main event looking as though he had not even been in a fight and strutting through the ring a la Sergio Martinez when Miguel Vasquez fought on the undercard of Pacquiao-Marquez IV. Darwin is a larger than life personality and his in ring ability shows promise as well.