It takes a rare kind of fight to make one pine for a boxer to be knocked out after the bell, but Rances Barthelemy-Argenis Mendez II Thursday on Fox Sports 1 stirred that odd sort of nostalgia. Barthelemy won clearly this time, and deserved to, but at least the first meeting had some fireworks and controversy thanks to the knockdowns, including the one that ended matters between rounds.
Barthelemy was obviously the superior fighter this time, same as last. Perhaps that’s because Mendez has outgrown the junior lightweight division; more likely it’s because Barthelemy is faster, is more active and showed more dimensions than the one-punch-and-done approach that handicapped Mendez. Mendez has flashed world class explosiveness, but his speed was well behind the Cuban’s and his power was nowhere to be found.
Mendez won three rounds on TQBR’s scorecard, and the same number on all the judges’ scorecards, all rare rounds where he threw a higher number of punches. He only won 115-111 thanks to two point deductions in the 9th and 10th for low blows, one fine and the other excessive. Barthelemy fought with his own handicap in the 11th and 12th, since body punching risked a DQ. He demonstrated ability if not excitement, and should be considered one of the best few 130-pounders in the world. Mendez will probably start afresh at 135, not that this showing was encouraging for the talented but inconsistent man from the Dominican Republic.
On the undercard:
- Junior middleweight Erickson Lubin dominated Noe Bolanos for a unanimous decision win in a huge step-up fight for someone in just his sixth bout at age 18, yet he didn’t exactly impress. It says something that he was able to dispatch such a veteran with almost no trouble, namely that his speed and length are terrific tools to start with; but he also flouted as many technical flaws as you might expect from a green pro, and wasn’t able to take out a fighter who has been knocked out by less acclaimed sorts. Lubin is a teenager with some rough edges. The power and technique could still come.
- Light heavyweight Umberto Savigne only needed two rounds to stop Jeff Lacy, who shouldn’t be boxing anymore. It was sad to watch Lacy complain about imaginary blows to the back of his head while getting dropped in the 1st (or, at best, blows that were behind the back of the head because of Lacy’s own decision to turn his head), and sadder to watch him get halted the very next round. It’s impossible to judge what kind of fighter Savigne is because of how much Lacy — once a top super middleweight — is toast. Savigne is ginormous-looking at a muscular, broad-shouldered 6’1″, so that’s something.
- We got highlights of a cruiserweight version of Edison Miranda losing to Yunier Dorticos, prompting a lot of justified jokes on Twitter about Lacy and Miranda being top guys at 160-168 back in like 2006, 2007. Miranda has now lost seven of 10 but was surprisingly spunky against Dorticos, a pencil-legged big man who doesn’t appear to pack much of a punch if he can’t stop Miranda, setting aside his 17 KOs in 18 wins. He didn’t look like much of a prospect from this angle. At least Mike Tyson’s promotional company had the good sense to throw a bunch of Cuban fighters on a card in Florida, something Golden Boy and Top Rank can’t seem to figure out for its various Cubans.