By Ryan Maquiñana
Middleweight prospect Paul “El Gallo Negro” Mendez has agreed to a managerial pact with Garcia Boxing of Salinas, Calif.
“It’s a great move for me,” Mendez (7-2-1, 2 KOs) told BoxingScene.com Wednesday night. “They’ve gotten other fighters in good positions, and I want to be the next one.”
The 23-year-old Mendez, from Walnut Creek, Calif., by way of Delano, Calif., made the decision to focus on his boxing career, giving up his day job in the process.
“I’m going to report to Salinas by Saturday,” Mendez added. “Not having to have worry about anything except boxing is a blessing. I spoke to Daniel Coca, who has been with me through it all as my trainer, friend, boss, you name it. Max and Sam Garcia are going to be handling most of the training now, but Daniel’s like family, and he’s always going to be in my corner.”
Coming off a unanimous decision over tough veteran Loren Myers and a majority draw with unbeaten Dmitry Chudinov, Mendez has been featured on TeleFutura three times in the last seven months. As a result, he piqued the interest of 2011 CSNBayArea.com Northern California Manager of the Year Kathy Garcia, who commented on her new client.
“I am excited about Paul Mendez,” she said. “He’s got a lot of raw talent. I’ve never had a middleweight before, and it’s a weight class where I think I can move him pretty quickly. Out of all the unsigned local fighters, he’s the only one I really considered working with. We think he can be a good student, so let’s see how this works out.”
Garcia would like to keep Mendez active, starting with a potential slot in the July 28 show at San Jose’s HP Pavilion headlined by Robert Guerrero’s welterweight interim title fight with Selcuk Aydin.
“I’m going to try to get him on that card in July,” she said. “With three months of good work in the gym, we’ll be able to measure where he is by then. Also, it’s really important he’s at his best for that fight, because it will be the first impression he’ll make on the local fans with us in his corner.”
Assistant trainer Sam Garcia weighed in on the acquisition as well as where they plan their new fighter to campaign.
“We’re just excited to add somebody like Paul,” he said. “If he dedicates himself 100 percent to boxing, there’s no doubt we can make him a bona fide contender and champion.
“He’s about six-foot-one with a 76-inch reach, so we’re going to experiment a little bit with the 160-pound range and venture off into 154 if it suits his strengths. But we definitely want him to fight at 160, where we think he’s solid.”
Ryan Maquiñana writes a weekly column for Comcast SportsNet Bay Area (CSNBayArea.com). He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and Ring Magazine’s Ratings Panel. E-mail him at [email protected], check out his blog at norcalboxing.net or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.