Barthelemy Stops Mendez With KO Launch After Bell

ESPN’s Friday Night Fights season 17 kicked right off with a bout from the Target Center in Minnesota, a middleweight scrap between Caleb Truax, a Minnesotan, and underdog Ossie Duran. This gave our man Teddy Atlas the opportunity to note that Truax has been the recipient of a “little home cookin” in the past. He had the volume edge in this one, but we got off to a stellar start from a judging perspective, with the arbiters deeming the bout a draw, 95-95, 95-95, 95-95. Nope, no hometown cookin’ to start the season, good deal, but the case could be made that Truax didn’t need any aid, that he earned a W in Minneapolis, on a Mike Tyson card.

The Ghana-born boxer waits too much, oftentimes, but he perked up some in the third. We saw blood from Truax’ nose to start the fourth. The jab was working. Truax went to the body, left and right side, but it lacked authority. In the sixth, Duran, who took the fight on three weeks notice, had Truax backing up late. Truax’ corner told him to step up and he got peppier in seven and eight. His uppercuts scored more obviously by this point.

The ninth was a tight one, with Duran not looking to give ground and let the hometown guy derive energy from the homies, and pull away down the stretch. They clinched in the tenth, a bit, and you wanted Truax, who is hoping to become a contender, to put a stamp on the night, look to give the locals a buzz boost. Instead, we went to the cards.

Teddy Atlas offered up a wish list to viewers in between bouts. The Staten Island analyst-trainer-philanthropist first asked that judges, in the year 2014, could be punished for destroying the sport. Also, Atlas wants the sanctioning bodies to be exterminated, like cockroaches. “Get rid of the corrupt sanctioning bodies that base their rankings on relationships with promoters,” he said. “Bring in the Transnational Ratings Organization, a non-biased group of writers who want to do it the right way. They want to give you the champions and the rated fighters based on what they do in the ring, on what it should be…”

Then, he said that networks shouldn’t deal with single promoters. Also, the commissions should have cornermen acting right in the ring. “Let’s bring class and dignity back to our sport,” he said. Finally, he asked for the fans to root for Mago to continue a miracle comeback from brain damage.

In the main event, Argenis Mendez defended his IBF 130 pound crown against Rances Barthelemy, a 19-0 Cuban. The 21-2-1 Dominican boxer looked buzzed early, and was backed against the ropes. But he collected his senses, it appeared, but then again was backed against the ropes. The long jab from Bart worked well against Mendez, who was told by trainer John David Jackson “don’t wait” after the round.

In the second, Mendez got untracked some, went to the body, but then ate left hooks, and went down. He was up, and then got dropped at the bell, by a nasty wide left hook, or a bit after. The ref waved off the fight with Mendez rolling around on the ground.

The end came at 2:59 of the second, though we suspect this issue isn’t over, as I think Team Mendez has grounds for a challenge.

The replay showed that Bart landed a few shots after the bell, two times after the bell, said promoter Mike Tyson. He said he wanted a rematch, and would point out the issue to the IBF, which will be asked to issue a ruling about the disposition.



-the Roast :

Here we go! FNF kicks off a new season with a controversial KO. That small time ref was out of position. He should have been right in there close knowing the round was almost over and the fighter was in trouble. The fight should have a rematch. Maybe not in a rinky dink place like Minnesota. Whatever the case, good to see some boxing on a cold night in the Midwest.

-amayseng :

Agreed Roast, it is the Ref's job to be in position to jump in to safely stop the action at the bell. In the moment its hard to stop throwing in the middle of a combination when your adrenaline is flying. A rematch should be mandated. Even though those two shots came after the bell Mendez was still in a defensive position, it is not like he just dropped his hands and took two for free. Good start to the year though

-amayseng :

Agreed Roast, it is the Ref's job to be in position to jump in to safely stop the action at the bell. In the moment its hard to stop throwing in the middle of a combination when your adrenaline is flying. A rematch should be mandated. Even though those two shots came after the bell Mendez was still in a defensive position, it is not like he just dropped his hands and took two for free. Good start to the year though

-Radam G :

The verdict should be changed to a no contest. Holla!

-Carmine Cas :

After watching the replay again, it should be changed to a NC. And rematch should be set, Barthelemy gets lucky on FNF.

-Bernie Campbell :

Both particulars appeared to be drinking!

-brownsugar :

[SIZE=3][FONT=arial]The punches were late,... but honestly Mendez couldn't do anything with Barthelemy if he was having his best day and Barthelemy was having his worst. Barthelemy's speed, skill and precision was a clear notch above what Mendez is accustomed to operating at. Barthelemy is obviously one of those boxers who is trained in every facet of the game... in addition to being very well prepared. ....and if Mendez were to be honest with himself and search that hidden place within his hearts of hearts,... he would know he doesn't want any part of a rematch with the Cuban defector. ..Although in the tough world of professional boxing,... even knowing this,... Mendez's pride will still force him to proceed. (boxing's version of the Samuri code demands it) ..... His eyes told the story after he was clipped in round one... the look in Mendez's eyes were bordering on terror while simultaneously begging for his life. Not to say that Mendez isn't a courageous man, or has a lack of a fighting spirit... it's just that you can't rehearse the expression on your face or which way your legs will flail after caught with a clean shot....

-Shoulder Roll Defense :

Victor Ortiz told me to tell you guys; "it's called protect yourself at all times."

-Radam G :

SRD, that is why the ref was at fault. A stunned fighter does not even know sometimes that the bell rang. The out-of-position ref was 100 percent at fault. As a fighter, I never halted punching until the ref said "STOP" and stepped between the opponent and me, because sometimes you will have arseholes for the other side ringing a bell from the audience. Don't forget that da game is shady, shaky, snakish, sneaky and BIG-TIME dirty. Holla!

-Radam G :

A FALSE bell. Holla!

-Glass Joe :

Although it is the ref's responsibility to stop the action when the bell sounds, that does not remove responsibility from the fighter. In my opinion, there was enough time for Barthelemy to stop throwing. It wasn't as if that KO punch was mid-flight when the bell rang. I agree it should be changed to NC, with a re-do (although I suspect the outcome will be the same).

-Radam G :

@Glass Joe, it is NEVER -- and I mean NEVER -- the fighter's responsibility to stop punching, base on hearing a bell. You are taught to STOP when the referee says STOP. He even gives you those instructions before the start of the scrap. [In the gym, fighters stop when they hear "TIME!" In a bout, they stop when they hear the ref say "STOP!"> Sometimes a fighter is hit so hard that he hear bells the whole darn round. Now which one should he stop on? Holla at Youtube. Referees have made mistakes and thought that they heard a bell and told the fighters to stop, thus preventing a fighter from getting KTFO! Way back in the day -- before most of us were born -- the ref thought that he heard the bell and told GOAT Ali to "STOP" pounding on a dazed (late, great) "Smokin'" Joe Frazier. To this day, oldtimers tell me that the cheat was on to stop the GOAT from kayoing the Smoke. Call a spade a spade! The ref was outta of position. And he caused the guy to be KAYOED after the bell. I'm reminded of the same thing happening to Evander Holyfield in the 1984 O games. Holla!

-Glass Joe :

@Radam…good point. So, based on your post, the bell is only for the referee's benefit, while the vocal command (and the vocal command only) is for the fighters'?

-Radam G :

Yes! The bell is an official guideline for the referee to know to end the round. Oftentimes the bell is rang early or late, and the fighter and his corner cannot complain about it. They just can follow the commands of the referee. Da game is crooked like a banana and makes everybodee and dey momma go ape syet with presumptions and their own on-da-fly rules. You never halt shooting punches or protecting your arse until the referee says "STOP" and often physically pull you away from the opponent. Holla!