Thursday, February 29, 2024  |



Is Rances Barthelemy the best at 130?

Fighters Network

Rances Barthelemy-ESPN-635


IBF junior lightweight titleholder Rances Barthelemy is unstoppable in his division, that is if you ask his promoter.

“I don’t think anybody beats him at 130 pounds,” said Leon Margules of Warriors Boxing of the 5-foot-11 Barthelemy, who will face Fernando David Saucedo on Oct. 4 at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn.

“He’s a boxer and a puncher with great power. He’s got great power and he’s close to six-feet tall. He’s a great athlete. He is a lot like Diego Corrales used to be. If you follow him, he’s getting better and better every fight.”

A native of Cuba now living in Miami, Barthelemy (20-0, 12 knockouts) is THE RING’s No. 3-rated 130-pounder behind WBA counterpart Takashi Uchiyama and the WBO’s Mikey Garcia and ahead of the WBC’s Takashi Miura.

Barthelemy, 28, is coming off a unanimous decision that dethroned then-beltholder Argenis Mendez in a rematch in July.

Barthelemy-Mendez II became necessary after Mendez’s controversial, second round knockout loss to Barthelemy in January was overturned and ruled a no-decision by the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry, restoring Mendez as the IBF’s junior lightweight titleholder.

“In the second Mendez fight, he was so anxious to knock him out again that he wasn’t patient,” said Margules of Barthelemy, who stopped Fahsai Sakkreerin in the second round in June 2013. “I don’t think that you saw his best performance in the rematch. But in the first Mendez fight and in the Sakkreerin fight, he was terrific. We would love to fight Garcia but I think that he’s moving up to 135.”

Although Barthelemy had floored Mendez once prior to the stoppage, the knockout appeared to be the result of a punch that landed after the bell ending the second round. A flattened Mendez was counted out by referee Pete Podgorski officially at the mark of 2:59.

“In the beginning, when I first defeated Mendez to become the IBF champion, I celebrated for 10 days with my family. Then I got the news that they were going to be taking the title away from me,” said Barthelemy.

“I got a little depressed and hurt but thanks to the support of my family and my fans, they kept reminding me that I was still the champion. So I kept that in my mind and that made me more comfortable for our second fight.”

Barthelemy plans to distance himself from his effort against Mendez with a statement victory over Saucedo (52-5-3, 8 KOs), 32, who has won his last 14 fights, seven by knockout. The 5-6 Saucedo is coming off a third round technical knockout of Luis Armando Juarez in June.

“Mendez was more prepared and didn’t come out like in the first fight. I expected him to come out more aggressively and with counter-punching but he was more defensive and that made me have to think a little bit more and to try to box him. Of course, I would like the knockout,” said Barthelemy.

“But I won’t try to go out there looking for the knockout or try to force it. Every time I do that, it doesn’t happen. They happen when you just go out there and fight. But I do feel that I have to look great in this fight and in every fight after this one just to maintain everyone’s respect. That way, everyone will have to continue to talk about me.”

Note: Thanks to Michael Robles for translation.



Earl Newman, a New York Golden Gloves champion from Brooklyn, will make his professional debut on the Barthelemy-Saucedo card.

“I’m excited to make my pro debut in a few weeks. I’m training hard and I’m looking forward to showcasing my skills and making a good impression for the fans at Foxwoods,” said Newman, 23. “As an amateur, I competed in the 201-pound weight class and I’ll be debuting at cruiserweight but I’m looking to eventually work my way down to light heavyweight.”

Newman, who stands 6-3, is promoted by Lou DiBella.

“I covered Earl Newman as a commentator at this year’s New York Golden Gloves finals and was incredibly impressed,” said DiBella. “The fans in attendance at Foxwoods on Oct. 4 will get to see the pro debut of a young man with star potential.”


Although Antonio Tarver’s thumb injury has forced the postponement of his heavyweight bout against Johnathon Banks, scheduled for Sept. 29, the former light heavyweight champion’s son, Antonio Jr., is still slated to appear on the card at the State Farm Arena in Hidalgo, Texas.
Tarver said that his 26-year-old, a southpaw, like his dad, will make his professional debut as a junior middleweight against Zachary Briones on the undercard.

“There’s going to be some pressure but I’m really in his head. I tell him that it’s not about filling my shoes but about developing on his own. I never wanted boxing for my son. Orlando is working wonders with my son. He’s the one who chose boxing. I know how tough it is,” said Tarver Sr.

Both father and son are currently being trained by Orlando Cuellar.

“He’s a great trainer who will really show him how to work like a champion. He has me as an example as well,” said Tarver Sr. “But a lot of times, it’s harder coming from me than it is coming from somebody else. Orlando is his head trainer. I trust him with myself and I trust him with my son.”

Cuellar is the former trainer for Glen Johnson, who split bouts with Tarver Sr. in 2004 and 2005.

“Junior is a specimen who comes from a very good bloodline. He grew up watching his father in the gym. He grew up watching greatness and around great athletes. It’s very evident that he’s related to his father. In comparison, Junior is very muscular, shorter but very strong,” said Cuellar.

“Junior is still in the process of developing himself and finding his own identity as a fighter. Where he’s at right now, he’s a very good prospect, very determined. He wants to reach the plateau that his father has reached but he’s not looking to ride his Daddy’s coattails. He’s looking to write his own book.”

“I didn’t necessarily want him following in my footsteps but he’s an adult, and since he’s chosen boxing, then it’s my obligation to be there for him and to guide him to the best of my ability. So I’m giving him the best that I’ve got. There’s a lot of pressure but he’s very, very gifted. God has blessed him with talent.”

In place of Tarver-Banks, a featherweight bout between Joseph “Jo Jo” Diaz Jr. and Raul Hidalgo has been elevated to main event status.

Photo courtesy of ESPN