by Jim McGrady
In the first televised boxing card of 2014, Rances Barthelemy (20-0,13 KO’s) became the IBF world super featherweight champion, scoring a controversial second round knockout of the reigning title holder, Argenis Mendez (21-3-1, 11 KO’s) in the main event of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights from the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Barthelemy, who was challenging for his first world title, dropped the (now) former champ in the final minute of the second round. Mendez rose on unsteady legs, beating the count, only to have Barthelemy continue his assault. With the challenger in mid-combination, the bell sounded to end the round afterwhich Barthelemy landed what would be the two shots of the bout, putting Mendez down and counted out by referee Pete Podgorski, the official time being 2:59.
Commentator Teddy Atlas placed the blame on Podgorski for being out of positon, and former world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, who promoted the event, stated that it was clear Mendez had been struck after the bell. Tyson also said he would request to have the fight reviewed, as well as look into setting up a rematch between the two fighters. In a post fight interview, Barthelemy said he’d be interested in a rematch as well.
In the shows opening contest, Ossie Duran (28-11-3, 11 KO’s) showed he’s still a durable fighter, taking USBA middleweight champion Caleb Truax (23-1-2, 14 KO’s) to a 10 round draw in a non-title bout. Both fighters put in a solid effort, both had their moments throughout the bout, but niether was able to gain a solid foothold or take full control of the fight. The bout was scored 95-95 by all thre judges.