Brian Mendoza shocks Sebastian Fundora with seventh-round KO
CARSON, Calif. – Brian Mendoza was not going to be deterred. Despite getting outboxed and being down on the scorecards, Mendoza was confident he could find a way to win.
Mendoza scored an improbable knockout win over Sebastian Fundora in Round 7 of their junior middleweight bout on Saturday night before a stunned crowd at Dignity Health Sports Park. Mendoza, who is originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico and now resides in Las Vegas, goes to 22-2, 16 knockouts.
That’s worth a rewatch… or ten 💥🥊
What a knockout for @LaBalaMendoza, as he sends Fundora flying to the canvas in the 7th 😳#FundoraMendoza pic.twitter.com/FMfK5WzGQp
— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) April 9, 2023
The fight did not start well for Mendoza as the taller Fundora, who entered the fight ranked No. 3 by The Ring, effectively outboxed Mendoza, who wanted to fight from distance.
By the third round, Mendoza was sucked into Fundora’s fight. Fundora was more effective on the inside, punishing Mendoza with several uppercuts to the head that began to bruise Mendoza’s face.
Mendoza landed a straight right hand to the head early in the fifth round, and was able to connect with a left uppercut, but Fundora continued to effectively outbox Mendoza. Blood had begun to come out of Mendoza’s nose at this point.
After Fundora banked another round in his favor in the sixth, Mendoza was able to connect early in the seventh round. A left hook staggered Fundora, prompting Mendoza to follow up with a right cross and a left hook, dropping Fundora flat onto his back. Fundora remained on the canvas as referee Ray Corona counted him out at 39 seconds.
At the time of the stoppage, Fundora was up 60-54, 60-54, and 59-55 on the judges’ scorecards.
Mendoza was coming off a knockout win over former unified world titleholder Jeison Rosario on November 5. He has now won his last three fights.
“I never quit,” said Mendoza after the fight. “If you don’t kill me, I’m not going to stop. Hats off to (Fundora). I thank him for the opportunity he gave me. It’s my time.
“They can’t deny me now. I just want to fight the best. I will fight anyone.”
Fundora, who is promoted by Sampson Lewkowicz, was diplomatic in defeat.
“The second you fall asleep, you get caught,” said Fundora. “That’s boxing. We will be back. This is a step up and a step down. Congratulations to Brian Mendoza.”
Fundora, who resides in Coachella, California, drops to 20-1-1, 13 KOs. The 25-year-old was coming off a decision win over Carlos Ocampo on October 8, which also took place at Dignity Health Sports Park.
In his previous fight, Fundora stopped Erickson Lubin on April 9 of last year, a fight that was a candidate for ‘Fight of the Year.’
Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 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 at [email protected]