By Jake Donovan
Argenis Mendez and Rances Barthelemy both made weight for their 130 lb. title fight, which takes place Friday at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Mendez came in at a trim and ready 128.5 lb, while Barthelemy tipped the scales at a lean 129 lb. Their scheduled 12-round affair headlines the 2014 season premiere of ESPN2 Friday Night Fights.
Both fighters were involved in disputed decisions bookending the 2013 Friday Night Fights season. Mendez (21-2-1, 11KO) was held to a controversial 12-round draw versus Arash Usmanee in the season finale, a bout that many felt should have gone in favor of the champion.
Barthelemy (19-0, 12KO) managed to land in favor of the judges in his own showdown with Usmanee, scoring a controversial unanimous decision in a bout many felt should have been the first loss for the unbeaten Cuban.
Despite being declared the victor, Barthelemy still had to sit back and watch his conquered foe receive a title shot before him. The sequence was viewed as justice in the court of public opinion, though he eventually earned his title shot with a 2nd round knockout of Fahsai Sakreerin, which also aired on ESPN2 Friday Night Fights late last June.
Mendez won the title with an emphatic 4th round knockout of Juan Carlos Salgado in their rematch last March. The feat served as revenge for a points loss to Salgado on the road in Mexico in their Sept. '11 vacant title fight.
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 . Twitter: @JakeNDaBox