By Jake Donovan
Juan Carlos Salgado knew a future opponent would be waiting in the wings from the moment Argenis Mendez and Martin Honorio agreed to terms for a rematch last month.
The trick now is to keep that on the backburner while his next opponent awaits, as the 130 lb. titlist prepares for an August 18 defense against Argentina’s Jonathan Barros in Puebla, Mexico.
Salgado (25-1-1, 16KO) has already beaten both Mendez and Honorio within his last three fights. Salgado survived a last-round knockdown against Mendez to take a disputed split decision in his native Mexico to win the vacant title. Two fights later, a strong start that included two early knockdowns was enough to fend off a late rally by Honorio to take a majority decision.
Needless to say, there was a bit of unfinished business no matter who won the July 21 rematch between Mendez and Honorio. In the end, it was Mendez for the second time in as many tries, winning a wide decision at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, FL. The outcome was much wider than was the case in their first fight two years ago, though Mendez advanced to the mandatory contender slot on both occasions.
He was forced to wait more than a year after the first fight for a title opportunity to finally surface. This time around, promoter Henry Rivalta – who signed Mendez earlier this year – tried his best to force the issue, insisting shortly after his fighter’s repeat win over Honorio that a rematch with Salgado would take place at the very same venue in September.
It’s entirely possible that the rematch does land in the states. Rivalta has stood behind his fighters every step of the way in his rookie year as a promoter, as oppose to Mendez having to settle for fighting on another promoter’s show last year in his lone title fight to date.
What won’t happen, however, is the fight taking place in September, no matter how good Salgado looks next month in his Televisa-televised headliner.
Barros (34-2-1, 18KO) is a former featherweight titlist, who managed a disputed decision win over Celestino Caballero last year before coming up short in the rematch. The lone other loss of his career came at the fast hands of Yuriorkis Gamboa in their March ’10 featherweight title fight.
Salgado makes the third defense of his 130 lb. title. He enters the fight on the heels of the aforementioned win over Honorio this past March, which followed a disappointing no-contest against Miguel Beltran last December in a bout that ended on a cut-inducing headbutt inside of two rounds.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox