By Francisco Salazar
CARSON, Calif. - Junior bantamweight contender Juan Francisco Estrada broke down Victor Mendez, forcing Mendez to remain on his stool after the seventh round to win by knockout.
Estrada was added to Saturday night’s fight card last week when Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez withdrew from his fight against Pedro Guevara, citing an injury to his knee during training camp.
Mendez took the fight with Estrada when Guevara withdrew from the card.
The taller Mendez was the busier and more-effective fighter during the opening two rounds, connecting with one-two combinations to the head of Estrada.
By the third round, Estrada began figuring Mendez out, countering Mendez or putting him on the defensive by initiating exchanges.
Estrada found a rhythm by the midway point of the fight, which complicated matters for Mendez as his confidence withered every time Estrada connected with several lead right hands or counter left hooks to the head.
Estrada entered the second half of the fight closing the distance, connecting with several left hooks to the body of Mendez, whose punch output dropped with each passing round. At the end of the sixth round, Mendez looked tired as he sat on the stool in his corner.
At the end of the seventh round, Mendez’s corner advised referee Thomas Taylor to stop the fight, saving their fighter from taking further punishment.
Estrada (38-3, 26 KOs) has won his last two bouts since his close 12 round majority decision loss to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai on Feb. 24 at The Forum in nearby Inglewood.
Mendez falls to 28-4-2, 20 KOs.
Both fighters resides in the western Mexican state of Sonora. Estrada resides in Puerto Penasco, while Mendez lives in Hermosillo.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing