By Jake Donovan
On the heels of his first fight in three years in his native Dominican Republic, 130 lb. contender Argenis Mendez is anxious to return to the title picture. The 25-year old wound up being matched softer than expected, scoring a second round stoppage over very late sub Alex Perez after Mendez saw two previous opponents pull out in the span of two weeks.
The win came just two months after falling short on the cards in the biggest fight of his career to date, a controversial points loss at the hands of Juan Carlos Salgado in September. Per the terms of the purse bid for the fight, Mendez was forced to travel to Salgado’s native Mexico for the bout. The Dominican finished strong, scoring a late round knockdown and controlling most of the action down the stretch, but a slow start ultimately cost him the fight on two of the three cards.
With a homecoming win now under his belt, Mendez looks to revisit the previous fight he attempted to secure – a title fight with Adrien Broner, who has since become a 130 lb. champ after knocking out Vicente Martin Rodriguez on Thanksgiving weekend.
“I spoke to Lou DiBella (Mendez’ promoter) to get Broner for our next fight,” states Jose Nunez, Mendez’ manager since his pro debut five years ago. “We’re waiting for his people to respond. Broner’s camp rejected a fight before, but now that he has a belt will hopefully consider defending against a real fighter like Argenis.”
Mendez offered his services to face Broner on Thanksgiving weekend the moment then-titlist Ricky Burns pulled out of the fight after citing an inability to any longer shrivel down to 130. What was billed as Broner’s next big test and first title shot instead became a showcase as HBO and Golden Boy secured the services of Rodriguez for the November 26 fight that wound up being a rout.
Upon viewing the fight, Mendez only grew even more anxious to get in the ring with his fellow young gun, which he hopes will be the case in early 2012.
“I saw his fight with Rodriguez,” Mendez revealed. “He did what he had to do with the opposition in front of him, which wasn’t much. I look forward to facing him. I was willing to fight him in Cincinnati on Thanksgiving, and will gladly go to his hometown if that’s the only place he is willing to fight me.”
The fight has actually become Mendez’ alternate plan, when efforts to secure a rematch with Salgado proved to be futile. The Mexican returns to the ring this weekend for his first – and rumored to be his last and only – title defense as he faces countryman Miguel Beltran Jr.
Rumors have circulated that Salgado is eyeing a run at lightweight after this fight. At 5’9” and in the prime of his career, it’s only natural for the soon-to-be 27-year old to eventually outgrow the division.
Mendez was hoping for a second crack at the two-time titlist, but may instead have to “settle” for a showdown with Broner, which would actually stand a better chance of landing on a major network.
“Argenis is hoping for a rematch with Salgado, who already turned down such an offer and is rumored to be moving up after this fight,” Nunez believes. “So right now, we’re looking at a fight with Broner, since both guys are looking to return soon and neither has a specific fight lined up.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]