COSTA MESA-Dominican Republic’s Argenis Mendez ripped the IBF junior lightweight world title away from Mexico’s Juan Carlos Salgado on Saturday. Also, the Molina brothers won too.
Mendez (21-2, 10 Kos) was looking to avenge an earlier defeat to Salgado (26-2-1, 16 Kos) and used a left hook to accomplish the mission in front of more than 1,100 at the OC Hangar. It didn’t take much time to see the Dominican was on top of things.
Early in the first round Mendez let loose with a hesitation right hand the caught Salgado flat-footed and dropped him near a neutral corner. Surprisingly, the Mexico City fighter beat the count and was able to resume the fight. He survived the first round on grit alone, but Mendez had tasted blood.
“I came for the knockout,” said Mendez, 26, who lives in Brooklyn. “I knew if I hit him with a clean shot he would go down.”
In the next round Salgado came out a little more aggressive trying to turn things around, but during an aggressive exchange, Mendez used a perfect left hook to the chin to emphatically floor Salgado for the second and final time. Referee Wayne Hedgepeth stopped the fight 45 seconds of round two.
“This is a special moment,” said Mendez.
Mexico’s Salgado looked surprised by the sudden ending of the rematch. “He hit me with a good shot,” he said.
In his first fight of 2013, Javier Molina (13-1, 5 Kos) sought to prove he’s one of the best welterweights in the world by accepting a fight with Joseph Elegele (13-2, 10 Kos). From the opening bell it was all out war.
Elegele, a tall southpaw, started the fight eagerly looking to discover if Molina’s chin could withstand an aggressive assault. He opened up both barrels on the 2008 Olympian and was able to tag Molina with body shots and head blows. The Norwalk boxer withstood the Elegele barrage.
In round two Molina made adjustments and changed tactics from an outside assault to a chin to chin trench warfare battle that was unexpected. Hard-to-see Molina left hooks landed flush and snapped back Elegele’s head repeatedly. Throughout the fight Molina seldom missed with the left hook. It was effective throughout the fight.
All three judges scored it for Molina 77-75 twice and 78-72.
“I knew he was a good fighter. I knew he was tough,” said Molina, 23. “I could have used my range but it was do or die.”
Oscar Molina, the twin brother of Javier Molina, scored a quick knockout win against Willie Walton (4-7, 3 Kos) at 35 seconds into the second round. Sharp punching by Molina kept Walton from initiating a solid attack. At the end of the first round, a short left hook stunned the Utah fighter and Molina pinned him against the ropes until the first round ended.
Molina didn’t waste time in the second round. As his corner men yelled at him to attack he fired an overhand right that dropped Walton for the count. The Utah boxer got up but was met by a barrage of blows that forced referee Tom Taylor to stop the match 35 seconds into the round.
“I wanted to come out strong,” said Molina, who recently fought in London representing the Mexican Olympic boxing team. “My corner kept telling me to let my hands go.”
Cornelius White (21-1) beat Otis Griffin (24-12-2) by decision.
Mickey Roman (40-11) beat Miguel Mungia (29-25-1) by judge’s decision 79-73 twice and 78-74.
Cincinnati’s Brandon Bennett (15-0, 7 Kos) beat Mexico’s Mario Hermosillo (11-8-3, 2 Kos) by decision. All three judges scored it for Bennett 60-54 twice and 59-55.
Juan Funez won his pro debut by majority decision against Jose Garcia.
Brandon Bennett beat Mario Hermosillo by decision.
Immanuwel Aleem beat Leshon Sims by decision.
Moshea Aleem beat Dante Spinks by decision.
Justin Deloach knocked out Sail Fernandez at 2:53 of round three.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV