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Guzman, Mendez Headline 11/18 Show In D.R.

By Jake Donovan

A homecoming is in store for two of the biggest names in the Dominican Republic boxing scene, as Joan Guzman and Argenis Mendez headline a November 18 card at Hotel Jaragua in Santo Domingo.

Guzman will face Francisco Castellano, while Mendez appears in the co-feature slot against Samir Torres as the pair of bouts pit DR’s finest against visiting Colombian boxers. The show marks the promotional debut of Carribean Casino and Gaming Corp. who presents the show in association with JG Entertainment and Jay Boxing.

The show will mark the first ring appearance in nearly a year for the undefeated but troubled Guzman (30-0-1, 17KO). The 1996 Olympic boxer and former two-division titlist is often viewed as the best pure boxer to come out of his country, but has battled with weight issues and inactivity throughout his career.

Guzman has missed weight in each of his last two bouts, including his coming in a massive nine pounds heavy for his vacant title fight rematch with Ali Funeka last March. His Dec. ’10 bout with Jason Davis served as a double whammy, missing weight before the fight (as did Davis) and then testing positive for a banned diuretic afterward, resulting in a suspension and a lost opportunity for a crack at Amir Khan.

More infamously, Guzman abruptly pulled out of a September ’08 title shot against then-lightweight champ Nate Campbell after missing weight and subsequently landing in a hospital room due to dehydration.

The fallout in the Campbell fight led him to his last homecoming fight, when he soundly outpointed Ameth Diaz in their Dec. ’08 title eliminator in Santo Domingo. Guzman has fought more than half of his pro bouts in his home country, but returns home for just the fourth time in the past ten years, hence the show’s theme “El Retorno del Campeon” (“The return of the champion”).

Unlike Guzman, the 25-year old Mendez (18-2, 9KO) boasts a career still full of promise, despite suffering his latest setback in most recent fight. Seven years after representing his native Dominican Republic in the 2004 Olympics, Mendez earned his first crack at a major title but was denied by the judges in a controversial points loss to Juan Carlos Salgado in their 12-round thriller this past September.

The bout was by far the biggest to date for Mendez, who got off to a slow start but picked up the pace in the second half of the bout, including a knockdown in the final round of their vacant super featherweight title fight.
It proved to come too late to make a significant impact, as he came up short on the road in Salgado’s native Mexico, eight months after traveling to South Africa to soundly outpoint former titlist Cassius Baloyi.

After two straight road trips, Mendez returns home for the first time in three years, when he and Guzman last appeared on the same show. The two share the same manager (Jose Nunez), but are deliberately kept away from each other during training, allowing each to enjoy his own identity and not draw comparisons to the other.

Still, their homecoming bouts draw striking similarities. Along with their appearing together three years ago and again in November, their opponents both hail from Colombia and haven’t enjoyed any success on the road.

Castellano (17-4, 11KO) has fought just once outside of his native Colombia, suffering a fourth round knockout at the hands of Lucas Matthysse in Nov. ’09. The bout served as the lone knockout loss of his career, though none of his wins have come against anyone of note as he heads into his regional title fight with Guzman.

Torres (12-4-1, 9KO) has faced a better class of competition than his countryman, but with similar results – coming up way short in knockout losses to Ameth Diaz, Humberto Toledo and unbeaten lightweight Darley Perez. The losses to Diaz and Toledo came on the road, with the pending fight against Mendez marking just his third fight beyond Colombian borders.

A confirmed bout on the undercard pits a pair of Dominican lightweights against one another as Julio DeJesus (12-0, 11KO) takes on countryman Ramon Duran (21-4). The rest of the undercard includes fellow unbeaten Dominican prospects Carlos Valdez, Jose Valdez and Argenis Lopez. Mikaela Lauren of Sweden and Amanda Serrano of Puerto Rico round out the card, in separate women bouts against opponents to be determined.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.uepa.com or by calling the UEPA box office at (809) 620-8372.

Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by GTL on 10-27-2011

**** GUZMAN... was a fan, but hes a waste.. such a talented fighter, and no motivation or drive.. **** him

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