By Jake Donovan
The next ring appearance for Algenis Mendez will take place in Washington D.C., but everything about his April 1 showdown versus unbeaten Robert Easter Jr. carries an Ohio feel. It’s from where his opponent hails, as well as where the former 130 lb. titlist has landed for the tail end of his training camp, specifically in Cleveland.
In doing so, he has enlisted the services of rising – yet idled – prospect Ryan Martin, who is not only based out of Ohio but also richly familiar with his upcoming opponent.
“This kid is very strong, has fast hands, big strength and does a little bit of everything in there,” Mendez (23-3-1, 12KOs) said of the Cleveland-based lightweight. “He’s giving me the looks my team is looking for to be fully prepared on April 1st.”
Sharing a training camp with Martin (13-0, 8KOs) was a wise move made by Mendez, a former titlist from Brooklyn by way of Dominican Republic. The unbeaten 23-year old shares the same physically attributes as Easter Jr. (16-0, 13KOs), both of whom are fairly tall for the lightweight division. His previous in-ring training experience with the Toledo native also comes into play in simulating his style during his time spent in Mendez’ camp, all while remaining neutral.
“I’ve shared the ring with Easter a couple times and I think this is a huge fight for him,” Martin notes of his fellow Buckeye. “Robert is filled with confidence and is coming off of some impressive wins.”
The bout will take place at the D.C. Armory in Washington D.C., paired up with Easter’s training mate, Adrien Broner in a super lightweight title defense versus Ashley Theophane. Both fights will air live as part of the Season Two debut of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) on Spike TV.
While it’s means for Easter Jr. and Mendez to proceed with their respective careers, Martin’s only ring activity comes through such sparring sessions. The once red-hot prospect has watched his career come to a grinding halt as a lengthy court battle with rapper and estranged promoter 50 Cent left him out of the ring since last May.
The two have recently agreed to an amicable separation in lieu of further dragging out matters in court. However, he still awaits his next assignment as he plans a trip to the nation’s capital.
“It’s going to be a pretty big matchup for both of them,” Martin notes of the matchup. “I plan on being at the fight to see how this is going to unfold. I wish them both the best.”
However soon or far Martin’s next assignment comes, Mendez is confident of the young boxer’s potential to excel in the lightweight division.
“Ryan is very good fighter, he’s going to make lots of noise in the near future,” believes Mendez, who is coming off of a 10-round win over Miguel Vasquez last September. “I’m happy to be in camp with him. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this kid, hopefully I can teach him a few things while I’m here.”
Martin is already learning in their short time together thus far.
“Mendez is very tricky and much bigger than I ever expected,” Martin admits.
Training camp will run through the end of the month before Mendez and his team make fight week plans for Washington D.C. Oddly enough, Easter is already in town for his second part of camp, arriving with Broner in mid-February after starting out in Cincinnati.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox