By Chris Cella
In a rematch for the IBF super featherweight title, belt holder Juan Carlos Salgado (26-2-1, 16 KO) and challenger Argenis Mendez (21-2, 11 KO) stepped between the ropes again tonight in a follow-up to their 2011 showdown, which Salgado won a unanimous decision.
From the onset of the first round, title challenger Mendez came out of the gate strong, showing he was the bigger and stronger fighter, utilizing his reach to get in and land his jab, and set up his combos to disrupt the champion’s rhythm and timing.
Salgado almost immediately looked out of place, unable to figure Mendez out, and was put to the canvas in the first round due to a straight right hand landed flush on his chin.
The fight didn’t get any easier for the champion, who continued to be pressured and stalked. Mendez kept coming forward, throwing punches at various angles, and eventually caught Salgado with a vicious left hand in the fourth round to end the contest, earning the belt.
Mendez sent a message to the rest of the super featherweight division with his performance tonight. He has worked his way up the rankings, and has had tunnel vision since coming off the loss in the first outing against Salgado. With the win he most likely lined himself up for a meeting with WBA world super featherweight title holder Yuriorkis Gamboa.
The loss is a big setback for Salgado, who will have to go back to the drawing board. More so than being knocked out and stopped in the title defense, he didn’t quite look like himself, as he got outworked for the full three minutes of each round leading up to the lights out left in the fourth.
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