The Week That Was (Dec. 30, 2013 – Jan. 4, 2014)

By Teron Briggs on January 6, 2014
The Week That Was (Dec. 30, 2013 – Jan. 4, 2014)
It would be awesome if the Minnesota commission believed in the use of instant replay.

Hooks, hooks and more hooks were Barthelemy’s staple as the man nicknamed “Kid Blast” tried to bulldoze his way to the title…

Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Barthelemy KO’s Mendez after the bell to capture 1st world title

For the second time in as many fights Argenis Mendez had a bout end in controversy, this time with him flat on his back and his world title in the hands of another man. In the main event of the season debut of ESPN2”s “Friday Night Fights,” former IBF featherweight titleholder Argenis Mendez (21-3-1, 11 KOs) was viciously knocked out in two rounds by Rances Barthelemy (20-0, 13 KOs), when the latter landed two illegal blows after the bell.

In Mendez’s previous defense of his IBF title, in August of last year, the judges declared his bout with Arash Usmanee a draw despite the fact that that many ringside observers had him winning. Mendez won the title earlier in the year when he knocked out Juan Carlos Salgado in four rounds, after previously losing to Salgado in a disputed decision in 2011.

The undefeated Barthelemy, originally from Cuba and now residing in Miami, raced out to a fast start as he immediately began dictating the action in the first round. Hooks, hooks and more hooks were Barthelemy’s staple as the man nicknamed “Kid Blast” tried to bulldoze his way to the title. Things didn’t get any better for Mendez in the second round as he experienced all kinds of trouble dealing with Barthelemy’s longer reach and height. The title challenger floored Mendez late in the round with a combination that began with a low blow and was punctuated with a sizzling left hook. Mendez barely regained his composure as he got to his feet and regrouped enough to make it to the bell. Unfortunately for him, Barthelemy didn’t let the end of the round prevent him from still throwing punches as he landed a crisp one-two that floored Mendez flat on his back. Referee Pete Podgorski, who should’ve been in position to jump between the two fighters after the bell, counted out the now former IBF champ as he lay helpless on the canvas.

The Dominican Republic born Mendez is promoted by Iron Mike Tyson Productions, and the former undisputed heavyweight champion watched the contest from ringside. In an interview with Bernardo Osuna after the fight Tyson told the ESPN2 viewers, “It was pervasive that the guy was hit after the bell. He got hit twice after the bell. I am going to complain and I am gonna go to the commission and discuss and have them replay it over the recorder and let them see the fight. It’s so obvious he hit him after the bell. The guy was winning the fight no doubt about it, but he hit him after the bell and that wasn’t fair at all.” For his part, Rances said he “would be happy to give him a rematch. I’m all about fighting the best. I’ll fight anyone.” Whether you want to blame the referee, or Rances Barthelemy, clearly a foul occurred here and the end result was a world title changing hands. There needs to be a rematch to clear things up. How awesome would it have been if the Minnesota commission believed in the use of instant replay, which would’ve allowed them to immediately review what occurred?

Truax disappoints in earning a draw at home

The last time most boxing fans saw Caleb Truax (23-1-2, 14 KOs) he scored one of the more riveting and surprising wins of 2013, when he stopped the heavily favored Don George on ESNP2 Friday Night Fights in front of a raucous home crowd. His opponent for this fight, 36-year-old former contender Ossie Duran (28-11-3 11 KOs), had a surprise for Truax as he refused to bow down to the once defeated fighter and almost pulled off the upset in an entertaining 10-round bout that was declared a draw.

Truax, a native of nearby Osseo, Minnesota, was the main draw for the close to 4,000 fans who braved the below frigid temperatures for the fight card labeled “Rumble in the Tundra.” He gained notoriety in April of 2012 when he knocked down the past his prime former undisputed middleweight champion of the world Jermain Taylor, in a 10-round loss. Ossie Duran, originally from Ghana and now residing in Paterson, New Jersey, is a former top contender who started his career in the lightweight division in 1996 and entered this bout on the heels of his first career knockout loss in June of last year.

Truax entered the fight the prohibitive favorite over Duran who was not only believed to be a faded fighter but also took the fight on three week’s notice when the former opponent, Derek Ennis, backed out. However, if Truax thought he was in for an easy night Duran quickly ended that thought when he bloodied his nose with a flurry of jabs. Truax had his moments in the fight as he used his legs and quicker hand speed to potshot the stationary Duran with one-twos then quickly scamper out of the way. He failed to commit enough to his punches and didn’t throw enough combinations to effectively hurt the hard-nosed Duran.

The biggest shot of the night was landed in the eighth round when Truax stopped Duran in his tracks with a big uppercut that parted the Ghanaian’s tight defense. Truax seemed to gain control of the fight late and the two went at it like two alley cats for the last few seconds of the round. The three judges who scored the bout all had 95-95, for a unanimous draw. That’s a rare as a NFL team coming back from 28 points in a playoff game, but apparently they both happen.

“I won the fight clearly,” complained Duran about the draw. “I beat the crap out of him in his backyard. I did everything I was supposed to do to win this fight.” I personally didn’t see that, but he did prove he’s still a durable fighter who can compete in the sport. “I’m pretty upset about this one,” Truax would tell the Minneapolis Star Tribune back in his locker room. He should be because he possibly derailed himself from securing a high profile fight in the division. Now we must wonder if he really has the goods to fight at the world-class level.

Starks keeps undefeated record with decision win

Minneapolis native Javontae Starks (8-0, 5 KOs) earned a six-round split decision win over the previously unbeaten Limberth Ponce (6-0, 4 KOs) in a fun fight that wasn’t as close as the scores would indicate.

Starks caught Ponce with a picture perfect check hook in the second round that awkwardly dropped the fighter from Rock Island, Illinois as if he were doing a gymnastic split. He used his accurate punching, though he failed to adequately use his jab and better ring technique to school the rugged but unskilled Ponce. The judges scored the fight 57-56 twice for Starks and 57-56 for Ponce.

Starks, a junior middleweight with impressive height at 5’11, started his career in 2009 and stopped his first four opponents. He then took a one-year hiatus from the ring, returning for a six-round split decision victory, only to step away again for two years from 2011 to 2013. At only 24 years old he still has time to develop as a prospect though he must fight more regularly.

Follow Teron Briggs on Twitter @TeronBriggs

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Argenis Mendez vs Rances Barthelemy full fight 03.01.2014

03.01.2014 - Caleb Truax vs Ossie Duran

Javontae Starks vs Limberth Ponce full fight 03.01.2014

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  1. Ted 06:55am, 01/06/2014

    Rough week to work, Teron but you did it proud.

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