By Jake Donovan
A week removed from his controversial majority draw against Arash Usmanee, reigning 130 lb. titlist Argenis Mendez is anxious to plan his next fight. While all challengers are always welcome, the rangy Dominican has a particular star in mind.
“I’m ready to defend my belt against Mikey Garcia on November 9,” Mendez insists, alluding to the open-ended status surrounding the reserved HBO date for the unbeaten former featherweight champ. “I want Top Rank and HBO To know that they don’t have to wait around for Roman Martinez.”
Garcia is slated to appear on a proposed November 9 tripleheader on HBO. Also planned for the show is stablemate Nonito Donaire, who is tentatively slated for a rematch with Vic Darchinyan, with Vanes Martirosyan facing Demetrius Andrade in a matchup of unbeaten fighters in a vacant 154 lb. title fight in the opening leg of the telecast.
Holding up finalization for Garcia’s place on the show is Martinez and his team refusing presently offered terms. As reported earlier this week on Boxingscene.com, Martinez was displeased with the reported $300,000 offer for his third title defense, while Garcia—moving up in weight after conceding his featherweight belt on the scales prior to knocking out Juan Manuel Lopez this past June—would be making considerably more for the contest.
The two sides are currently embroiled in negotiations that have already lasted most of the summer. A purse bid will eventually be ordered if the two sides can’t come to terms, though the financial shift may or may not play a factor in Top Rank proceeding with such a fight.
If only for peace of mind for the parties involved, Mendez assures that his availability for such a fight won’t be accompanied by any sidebars or further financial demands.
“I’m ready to step up and accept the date they have for November,” Mendez promises.
Mendez’ aforementioned draw with Usmanee marked the first defense of the 130 lb. belt he won earlier this year in a revenge-fueled 4th round stoppage of Juan Carlos Salgado this past March. The bout aired live on HBO Latino, the only time Mendez has been in a fight affiliated with an HBO broadcast.
Martinez’ last three fights have all come in association with HBO. The Puerto Rican defended his title with a win over previously unbeaten Diego Magdaleno this past April in Macau, which aired via tape delay on HBO2. His disputed 12-round draw versus Juan Carlos Burgos aired on HBO, beneath Garcia’s featherweight title winning effort over Orlando Salido. Four months prior, Martinez won a vacant 130 lb. belt with a split decision over Miguel Beltran Jr., which served as part of the pay-per-view undercard in support of Sergio Martinez’ unanimous decision win over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
HBO and Top Rank are both on board with Martinez as the approved opponent for Garcia, who will be in search of a title in a second weight class after his short-lived reign at featherweight.
Mendez plans to fight at least once more in 2013, regardless of whether he lands a fight with Garcia or is forced to seek out another opponent.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America.