Dan Rafael: Juan Carlos Salgado

GGG taking SoCal by storm

September, 13, 2014
Sep 13
A few notes from around the boxing world:

• Middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin’s West Coast debut is already a hit. Due to overwhelming ticket demand, K2 Promotions is putting $27 standing room only tickets on sale for Golovkin’s defense Oct. 8 (HBO) at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

“In the first two weeks, we've sold over 75 percent of the available tickets to [the card dubbed] ‘Mexican Style,’ which truly validates the popularity of Gennady on the West Coast,” Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions said. “This speaks to Gennady’s growing global brand, as he is willing to fight in locations around the world unlike many champions who only fight in one city or one state. We’re happy to announce the unprecedented addition of standing room only tickets in order to meet the demand from boxing fans for this event.”

• Former junior middleweight titlist Sergio Mora announced on his Twitter page that he has signed with adviser Al Haymon. Mora (26-3-2, 9 KOs), 33, of East Los Angeles, has won three fights in a row, including his past two by knockout. His signing with Haymon harkens back to Haymon’s start in boxing. His first client was the late Vernon Forrest, whom Mora outpointed to win a junior middleweight belt in 2008. Three months later, Forrest outpointed Mora in the rematch to reclaim the title in what was Forrest's final fight, as 10 months later, he was murdered. Mora and Haymon were on opposite sides then, and now they are together. Mora will continue to be promoted by Lou DiBella, who has a longstanding business relationship with Haymon.

• Bantamweight titlist Shinsuke Yamanaka (21-0-2, 16 KOs) of Japan will face mandatory challenger (and former junior bantamweight titlist) Suriyan Sor Rungvisai (37-5-1, 16 KOs) of Thailand on Oct. 22 in Tokyo. Yamanaka, a southpaw, will be making his seventh defense. A lightweight undercard bout will pit former featherweight and junior lightweight titlist Takahiro Ao (26-3-1, 12 KOs) of Japan, and former junior lightweight titlist Juan Carlos Salgado (26-3-1, 16 KOs) of Mexico.

Title fight on FNF season opener

January, 2, 2014
Jan 2
Argenis Mendez (AP Photo/Paul BeatyArgenis Mendez hopes to end his fight with Rances Barthelemy within 12 rounds.

When Argenis Mendez won a junior lightweight world title in March, he did it by scoring a fourth-round knockout in a rematch with Juan Carlos Salgado. When Mendez made his first defense on Aug. 23, the fight went the distance and he retained the belt via unpopular majority draw against Arash Usmanee.

Headed into his second defense, Mendez said he is determined not to leave the result in the hands of the judges this time when he faces mandatory challenger Rances Barthelemy in the main event of this week’s season debut of “Friday Night Fights” (ESPN2, 9 ET) at the Target Center in Minneapolis.

“I definitely learned that when you're in the ring you have to give it your all. Sometimes what you and your corner think isn't what is going through the judges' minds,” Mendez said, referring to the Usmanee bout. “Honestly, I don't know what fight the judges saw. There was no way that bout was a draw.

“Unfortunately, that fight wasn't the first time this has happened to me. I've been robbed twice before, once in Denver [in an eight-round decision loss to Jaime Sandoval in 2008], and the other time in Mexico [in the first fight with Salgado in 2011]. I knocked both guys down during our fights. Now, I'm more determined to get in there and be more aggressive to make sure there is no doubt that I am the winner. I'm definitely not going to leave it to the judges. I know for sure that I'm going home with my title.”

Mendez (21-2-1, 11 KOs), 27, a native of the Dominican Republic fighting out of Brooklyn, N.Y., will be fighting with trainer John David Jackson in his corner for the first time. Jackson is very familiar with Barthelemy (19-0, 12 KOs), 27, a native of Cuba living in Miami. Jackson used to train Barthelemy, who scored the title shot by winning two elimination bouts with Jackson in his corner.

The first one was a highly controversial decision against Usmanee last January, followed by a second-round knockout of Fahsai Sakkreerin in June, also in Minneapolis.

“[Jackson has] definitely been teaching me how to be more aggressive, throwing more punches and improving my power,” Mendez said. “He's great strategizing and together we have worked out a great plan for this upcoming fight. We already have the blueprint. My job is to go out there [on Friday] and execute.”

In the scheduled 10-round co-feature of the card, co-promoted by former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson’s Iron Mike Productions (with Tyson expected ringside), Minnesota middleweight Caleb Truax (23-1-1, 14 KOs), whose only loss came to former middleweight champion Jermain Taylor, faces late substitute Ossie Duran (28-11-2, 11 KOs), 36, a native of Ghana living in Paterson, N.J. Truax, 30, has won five fights in a row since the points loss to Taylor in April 2012, including a sixth-round knockout of Donovan George.

“It means a lot to be fighting at home in front of family and friends,” Truax said. “My fight is going to be a battle against an opponent who wants nothing more than to make a name for himself. I will be ready for anything he has to offer.”

Mendez seeks KO vs. Salgado

March, 8, 2013
Argenis Mendez (AP Photo/Paul BeatyArgenis Mendez hopes to end his fight with Rances Barthelemy within 12 rounds.

The first time Argenis Mendez faced Juan Carlos Salgado, it was for a vacant junior lightweight title in Salgado's home country of Mexico in September 2011. It was a spirited scrap in which Mendez dropped Salgado in the 12th round and had him in deep trouble.

But Salgado survived, made it to the final bell and won a tight unanimous decision.

Mendez won his next two fights, including an official eliminator against Martin Honorio in July, to become Salgado's mandatory challenger. With the fighters set to meet again on Saturday, Mendez (20-2, 10 KOs), 26, a 2004 Olympian from the Dominican Republic, is determined to keep Salgado down this time.

"I'm going to take care of unfinished business," he said. "I'm not going to leave the final result in the hands of the judges this time. I'm coming back with the belt for my family and team, [promoter] Acquinity Sports, and my country, Dominican Republic."

Mendez, who lives in Miami and trained for the fight in England, learned a hard lesson in the loss to Salgado, according to his representatives.

"In the first fight, Mendez should have done a little more early in the fight," said Acquinity Sports vice president Henry Rivalta. "He beat up Salgado near the end of the fight, but the judges must not have felt that he did enough to beat the defending world champion in his home country.

"Mendez doesn't plan for this fight to go the full distance. He's in great shape after going through a rigorous training camp with his trainer, Lee Beard. Salgado won't be fighting the same Mendez this Saturday night."

The 28-year-old Salgado (26-1-1, 16 KOs) will be making his fourth title defense, all of which have come against solid opponents. After beating Mendez for the belt, he defended against Miguel Beltran Jr. (although it was declared a no-contest in the second round because of an accidental head butt), Honorio and former featherweight titleholder Jonathan Barros.

Salgado-Mendez II gets TV slot

February, 21, 2013
Juan Carlos SalgadoKazuhiro Nogi/Getty ImagesThe rematch between Juan Carlos Salgado and Argenis Mendez found a home on U.S. TV.

A few updates on some upcoming fights:

• American fans will have a chance to see the rematch between junior lightweight titlist Juan Carlos Salgado (26-1-1, 16 KOs) and Argenis Mendez (20-2, 10 KOs). HBO bought the rights to the March 9 bout and will air it on HBO Latino (8:30 p.m. ET).

The fight takes place in Costa Mesa, Calif., on the undercard of the heavyweight eliminator between Cristobal Arreola and Bermane Stiverne. Arreola-Stiverne is part of an HBO-split site tripleheader that also includes light heavyweight titlist Tavoris Cloud against Bernard Hopkins and welterweight Keith Thurman against Jan Zaveck from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. HBO did not have room for a fourth fight on its telecast, but made a deal for Salgado-Mendez II to air on its Spanish-language channel. I hope we will see more of this sort of thing from HBO, sort of like how Showtime Extreme has done a great job televising preliminary bouts for Showtime cards.

March 9 is a big night for HBO -- a live title fight on HBO Latino followed by the network tripleheader and then, immediately following the tripleheader on HBO, there will be a new edition of “The Fight Game with Jim Lampley.”

• Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer said that the return of former junior welterweight titlist Amir Khan, slated for April 20, will move to April 27 (Showtime). Nothing official yet with regard to the site or opponent, although he is likely to fight in his native England.

• Polish light heavyweight Andrzej Fonfara suffered a hand fracture, forcing him to withdraw from the main event of the March 22 ESPN “Friday Night Fights” card. He was due to face Nicholson Poulard. Fonfara will be out for at least four weeks, but if he needs surgery he could be sidelined for three to six months. ESPN2 is working with the promoters to put together a new main event, but still has a quality co-feature that could possibly move up to the main event spot -- Donovan George, who is moving down to middleweight, against David Lopez.

• An injury has knocked light heavyweight prospect Mike Lee off the March 16 Timothy Bradley-Ruslan Provodnikov card. Top Rank has also added hot junior featherweight prospect Jessie Magdaleno to the card in an eight-rounder.

Jorge Linares gives it another go

October, 4, 2012
Antonio DemarcoAP Photo/Jae HongJorge Linares, right, is trying to revive his career after two devastating loses.

Former two-division titlist Jorge Linares, blessed with enormous talent but a poor chin and tissue-thin skin that cuts easily, is on the comeback trail.

Venezuela's Linares, a one-time prodigy, won belts at featherweight and junior lightweight but never fully lived up to expectations. In 2009, he got whacked in the first round and lost his junior lightweight title to Juan Carlos Salgado in Tokyo, Linares' second home.

He then won four fights in a row before facing Mexico's Antonio DeMarco for a vacant lightweight belt last October at the Staples Center on the Bernard Hopkins-Chad Dawson I undercard.

Linares was a heavy favorite and toyed with DeMarco for most of the fight. He was way ahead of DeMarco on all three scorecards going into the 11th round, but had also been severely cut and was bleeding profusely. Between the blood and DeMarco's raging desire to win, Linares got stopped late in the round in an upset.

It was such a dramatic comeback for DeMarco that a rematch was set up, but Linares first took a supposed tune-up fight. The result? He got whacked in the second round by underrated Sergio Thompson in March.

The DeMarco rematch went down the drain, and to many, so did Linares' career. But now Linares, 27, is giving it another go.

Trainer Freddie Roach, who took over as Linares' trainer for a few fights in a pairing that simply didn't work out, is no longer going to be in his corner. Linares (31-3, 20 KOs) is back with longtime trainer Sendai Tanaka as he heads into a scheduled 10-round lightweight fight against 37-year-old former lightweight and junior lightweight title challenger Hector Velasquez (52-17-3, 35 KOs) at Memorial Auditorium in Sacramento, Calif., on Saturday night (Fox Deportes, 10 ET).

In the scheduled 10-round main event, Japanese welterweight Yoshihiro Kamegai (21-0, 18 KOs), fighting in the United States for the second time, will face Mexico's Jorge Silva (19-2-1, 15 KOs).

This could be Linares' last stand as a relevant fighter. He should beat Velasquez, who has fought many top opponents -- including Manny Pacquiao, Edwin Valero, Israel Vazquez -- but is just 2-6-1 in his past nine fights. Velasquez is presumed to be on his last legs.

The question is, however, is Linares also?