By Jake Donovan
A purse bid has been avoided, as representatives for Argenis Mendez and Rances Barthelemy have agreed to work out terms for their forthcoming rematch.
No date or venue has yet been set, but the 130 lb. title fight sequel is being targeted for June, to air on Showtime.
The latter part was to be expected after Barthelemy signed with high-powered, low-profile boxing adviser Al Haymon earlier in March. The majority of the fighters currently guided by Haymon have regularly appeared on Showtime or Fox Sports 1 in recent months.
The first fight between Mendez and Barthelemy served as the 2014 season premiere of ESPN2 Friday Night Fights and could not have offered a more controversial start to the boxing season. Barthelemy had Mendez down and in serious trouble in round two, but the tail end of his fight-ending combination came after the bell had sounded to end the round.
The verdict was originally announced as a knockout win for Barthlemey, which for a few weeks made the Cuban a newly crowned 130 lb. titlist. However, the decision was overturned by the Minnesota Combative Sports Commission later in the month, reinstating Mendez as champion as the outcome was officially ruled a no-decision due to the fight ending on an accidental foul.
A rematch and purse bid was ordered by the International Boxing Federation (IBF), which also saw both camps file protests. Barthelemy requested a greater portion of the purse than the mandated 75/25 split in favor of the champion, given unique set of circumstances surrounding their first fight.
When that didn’t happen, the unbeaten contender did the next best thing – become the latest in a growing list of fighters to sign with Haymon. Such a move almost always results in a significant increase in pay, which is what both Barthelemy and Mendez can expect with the fight receiving a network upgrade from ESPN2 to Showtime.
Mendez (21-2-1-1ND, 11KO) won the title more than a year ago, scoring a 4th round knockout over Juan Carlos Salgado in their rematch last March. The return go with Barthelemy will mark his third title defense, though he has yet to record a single win in his previous two bouts. His first title defense resulted in a controversial 12-round split decision draw with Arash Usmanee last August.
The forthcoming rematch will mark the first Showtime appearance for either fighter. Should the bout land on Showtime Championship Boxing series, it will mark the series’ promotional debut for Iron Mike Productions, Mendez’ promoter who will first appear on Showtime in a planned April 18 Shobox card featuring unbeaten prospects Felix Diaz, Alexei Collado and Samuel Vasquez.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox