Monday, March 27, 2023  |


Mendez outpoints Redkach, who blames ref’s calls for the loss

Lightweight fringe contender Ivan Redkach (left) was unhappy with referee Raul Caiz Jr.'s (right) point deduction and knockdown ruling during his 10-round decision loss to Argenis Mendez (center). Photo / Andy Samuelson-PBC

STUDIO CITY, California – Argenis Mendez was awarded a split-decision victory over Ivan Redkach on Tuesday night at the Sportsman’s Lodge but the scores didn’t indicate a ruling performance the former beltholder had portrayed.

Mendez was the winner by 10-round split decision with scores of 96-93 and 95-94, with one score of 95-94 for Redkach.

The lightweight contest was the main event of a Premier Boxing Champion’s card televised live on Fox Sports 1.

Photo / Andy Samuelson-PBC

Mendez (23-5-1, 12 knockouts), a former 130-pound titleholder, timed his right hand early and often against his southpaw counterpart and a right hook to the body in the second round stunned Redkach into retreat. Redkach, a Ukrainian import fighting out of Los Angeles, tried his best to fire back, but early on Mendez had no trouble dodging the return fire.

Redkach, 31, started to get more aggressive with his come forward attack, but often times would force a clash of heads instead of a clean exchange. In the third round, Redkach was docked a point for those consistent head clashes, but it didn’t break Mendez’s rhythm in the fight. The 30-year-old Dominican seemed to have an easy time working off Redkach’s jab and, along with a jab of his own, implemented some left hands that scored cleanly.

There were a few times where Mendez fell to the canvas, but both occasions were ruled a slip by referee Raul Caiz Jr – something Redkach complained about afterwards.

Photo / Andy Samuelson-PBC

“I felt that I knocked him down and the referee didn’t call it and he took the point away and that cost me,” said Redkach. “I never felt any pain. I fought like I wanted to and I thought I did enough. The judges were wrong. I won that fight.”

Redkach (20-2-1, 16 KOs) couldn’t visibly shake up Mendez, however, and even after those instances where he got up off the mat, there were no signs of weakness in his legs. So often Redkach’s offense came up empty handed, but if his effort and will was scored, it would’ve been much closer.

“I definitely slipped both times I went down. He didn’t even hit me,” said Mendez about those instances. “I used my skill and my speed throughout the fight, but I waited to come forward until the fourth or fifth round. I knew he wasn’t going to be able to knock me out because I have great defense. I see every punch.”

In hindsight, the point deducted on Redkach for head butts saved Mendez from getting robbed of a clear win.

Brandon “Heartbreaker” Figueroa remained undefeated after receiving a unanimous decision over Luis Saavedra in the FS1 co-feature. After eight rounds, Figueroa got the nod with scores of 78-74, 79-73, and 79-73.

Figueroa (12-0, 8 KOs), Weslaco, Texas, didn’t have to work very hard to get Saavedra in punching range as the latter was compelled to stay stationary in the pocket. Whether it was in the corner or against the ropes, Saavedra’s back was seemingly always against something, and Figueroa took advantage of a willing target by mixing up his shots up and downstairs.

“He is a Mexican fighter that has never been knocked down so that says a lot about him right there. I knew he was going to be tough,” claimed Figueroa after the win. “I worked the body and tried to finish it in the later rounds, but he was a tough opponent. I knew by the third or fourth round that it was going to be a really tough fight so I kept my distance, but kept trying to punish the body.”

The opening bout of the Fox Sports 1 telecast offered an evenly matched fight between bantamweights and after six rounds of sustained action, Jonathan Torres beat Antonio Santa Cruz by unanimous decision (60-54, 59-55, 58-56).

Born in Jalisco, Mexico, nicknamed “Peligro” and fighting out of Moreno Valley, California, Torres, was indeed a danger for the younger brother of the current WBA featherweight title holder, Leo Santa Cruz. Torres (8-5-1, 2 KOs) led in with the jab early on in order to get closer to his rangier foe, and once close enough unleashed a right hook that had Santa Cruz stunned early in the first round. By the end of the first three minutes, Santa Cruz returned the favor with a right cross of his own.

By the third, both men had disregarded their jabs and a pure action fight ensued. Santa Cruz (5-3, 2 KOs) was accurate with his right cross and left hooks but only when at a comfortable range. All Torres had to do was take the fight inside, and there his ambidextrous hooks worked the body and head. Despite getting out worked and out-manned when it came to positioning himself away from the ropes, Santa Cruz still put up a commendable effort that may not have deserved a shutout on one of the scorecards.

“He was applying a lot of pressure. He is shorter than me, so that was his game plan and it worked,” said Santa Cruz after the loss. “He has good experience. This was my first six round fight. He had fought 10 rounds before. Not trying to make excuses though.”

“I stuck to my game plan. I went forward and tried to counter every punch. If he threw one, I would try to throw five,” said Torres, 21, after the victory. “I never really felt his power. He hit me with a good shot in the first, but after that I wasn’t fazed.”

Julian Rodarte came close to losing his unbeaten record after a tough fight with Jesus Aguinaga, and after six rounds, the scorecards of 57-57, 57-57, and 58-56 (Aguinaga), totaled a majority draw.

Fighting out of Phoenix, Arizona, Aguinaga (5-5-2) came out of the gate swinging left and right hooks and with the action, set the precedent for the fight. Rodarte (10–0-1, 5 KOs) fought fire with fire, but too often, the right hands from Aguinaga resonated after many exchanges. Rodarte, 21, was visibly stunned with one of those shots in the third round, and while he let off many good shots of is own in this action fight, Aguinagafelt compelled to posture his right hand as a sign of confidence. The fight was indeed close, but with the crowd booing the decision, it was clear that Rodarte may’ve been lucky to only receive a draw.

Juan Funez received a unanimous decision over Matt Murphy to remain undefeated after a four round lightweight scrap.

Fighting out of Reseda, California, Funez (8-0-1, 3 KOs) found himself in a competitive fight despite what the scores of 40-36, 40-36, and 39-37 in his favor had indicated. It was fought on the inside for most of the twelve minutes and featured some really good exchanges with both men trying to top the other. Moore (2-11-1, 2 KOs) tried his best to be slick early on, but was lulled into an action fight quickly. That kind of scrap was in Funez’s favor, and by simply out-punching and landing the cleanest shots of the fight, he was the clear winner of this one.

In a junior welterweight matchup, Luis Adrian Bello was too much for Jose Luis Araiza, and forced him to abruptly quit during action in the second round.

Bello (9-5, 4 KOs) had a glaring height advantage over his oppnent, but that didn’t cause any accuracy issues for the 23-year old. In the fateful second round, Bello landed a left hand that dropped Araiza for a clean knockdown. Araiza (32-2-2, 22 KOs) seemed okay once getting up, but after eating a one-two, he complained to referee Raul Caiz Jr. pointing to his mouth and the fight was immediately stopped with a little over 30 seconds left.

In the opening bout of the card promoted by TGB Promotions and Last Round Promotions, Richard Acevedo was successful in his pro debut after forcing a stoppage of Anthony Woods in the fourth and final round.

Acevedo, age, handled an opponent who was unafraid to mix it up with the young welterweight and tried to make it a dog fight. Woods (0-5) forced an accidental clash of heads in the second round and it cut the bridge of Acevedo’s right eye, but thanks to the busy hands from Acevedo, the constant damage he would retaliated with were enough to force a stoppage by referee Thomas Taylor.

In the walkout bout of the evening, Herbert Acevedo received a majority decision (57-57, 58-56, 58-56) win over Jerome Rodriguez after six rounds of competitive welterweight action.