By Jake Donovan
Argenis Mendez has been forced to overcome quite a bit of bad news in recent months. The Dominican contender has endured such a hard-luck run, that even good news comes with a twist these days.
Fans of the Top-10 rated junior lightweight will be pleased to know that he has been penciled in to headline a May 18 show at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Florida.
Where the news isn’t quite as pleasant is that the show – once targeted to air on ESPN2 Friday Night Fights – loses its TV coverage. ESPN2 moved on to another card after Mendez’ stablemate Joan Guzman suffered an injury during training camp and was forced to withdraw from the main event.
“We hate that the injury came when it did,” Jose Nunez, who manages Guzman and Mendez told Boxingscene.com. “Joan was staying active and keeping the weight off. He’s finding ways to lead his new team, but wants to get healthy and return to the ring as soon as possible.”
Guzman (32-0-1, 19KO) is coming off of an 8th round stoppage of Jesus Pabon in an ESPN2-televised headliner last month. Shortly thereafter, the unbeaten former two-division titlist was named captain of the “Dominican Dream Team” which includes Ed Parades and unbeaten young guns Clauido Marrero, Juan Carlos Payano, Lennin Castillo and 2008 Olympic Gold medalist Felix Diaz.
The group recently toured the Dominican Republic to raise interest for the May 18 show. Mendez (19-2, 10KO) becomes the latest to join the squad, all of whom now fight under the Acquinity Sports promotional banner.
With Guzman off of the show, Mendez and Diaz now serve as the lead in separate co-main events.
Mendez hasn’t fought since his own Dominican homecoming last November, breezing through late sub Alex Perez in two rounds. Fights were scheduled for February and March but fell through for separate reasons. An appearance was locked in on the undercard of the planned February 11 rematch between Victor Ortiz and Andre Berto. The entire show was cancelled after Berto suffered an injured bicep and was forced to withdraw.
Promoter Lou DiBella attempted to get Mendez on the undercard of Sergio Martinez’ recent middleweight title defense against Matthew Macklin in New York City. However, that fight fell through at the 11th hour after scheduled opponent Daniel Attah was medically scratched by the New York State Athletic Commission.
The bad news has come in droves for Mendez, who dropped a disputed split decision to Juan Carlos Salgado in their vacant junior lightweight title fight on the road in Mexico last September. Challenges were offered to Salgado (in a targeted rematch) as well as unbeaten American risign star Adrien Broner, but fell on deaf ears.
The plan now is to keep Mendez busy, as his handlers work to secure a title shot within his next couple of fights.
“’Genis is right there with the best fighters at 130,” Nunez insists. “We just need to keep him busy, but it’s been tough with fights falling through. It just takes one fight to get things going again. We just have to get it to a point where the champions have no excuse to avoid us. I’m confident that day will come soon and that Mendez will be a world champion in 2012.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]