Talent, patience, hard work and perseverance got Rio Rancho’s Brian Mendoza where he is today.
Whatever future opportunities present themselves, and whenever, the World Boxing Council interim junior middleweight champion is confident those same attributes will get him where he needs to go.
The Mendoza left hook that knocked Sebastian Fundora into never-never-land on April 8 will always be there.
That 154-pound division is in flux right now.
Jermell Charlo, who has held the junior-middleweight title in all four of professional boxing’s widely recognized sanctioning bodies (WBA, WBC, WBO, IBF) since July 2021, is moving up in weight to challenge Saul “Canelo” Alvarez on Sept. 30 at the super-middleweight limit of 168 pounds.
The WBO reacted by announcing plans to strip Charlo of its 154-pound title once he steps in the ring with Alvarez, with further plans to award Australia’s Tim Tszyu the 154-pound belt.
Tszyu had been scheduled to challenge Charlo for the undisputed junior-middleweight title, but a broken hand suffered by Charlo in training scrubbed that fight.
Mendoza isn’t buying, nor is he selling. He’ll take what comes. Win or lose against Alvarez, will Charlo move back to 154? No one knows.
“I’d love to fight Tim Tszyu,” Mendoza said on Thursday in a phone interview from Las Vegas, Nevada, where he lives and trains. “I’d take that fight in a heartbeat. But as of now, it’s all speculation and rumors.”
Meanwhile, there’s the matter of a possible rematch with Fundora, whom Mendoza knocked out in the seventh round to win the WBO interim belt.
Again, Mendoza will roll with whatever punches the boxing industry throws his way.
“There’s a rematch clause,” Mendoza said. “… I’m just kind of seeing what plays out. I’m letting my management team handle that, so I’m kind of waiting on (that), too.”
Since the Fundora fight, Mendoza said, his boxing profile has grown. He’s visited Mexico twice as a guest and representative of the WBC — treated, he said, “like family.”
From day to day, however, little has changed. He still lives in Las Vegas, trains there at Salas Boxing Academy and maintains the same circle of close friends that “definitely keep me humble.”
Mendoza is scheduled to be in Albuquerque this weekend to attend Saturday’s professional boxing card at Expo New Mexico. Matt Griego-Ortega, Mendoza’s friend and former Atrisco Boxing teammate, is fighting Saturday’s main event against former world champion Merlito Sabillo.
USA BOXING: Las Cruces amateurs Aleeza Mata-Hill and Amiah Mendoza took home silver medals from last week’s USA Boxing Women’s Championships in Toledo, Ohio.
Mata-Hill reached the Elite Division 154-pound finals with victories over Illinois’ Claire Quinn and Michigan’s Sarah Swanson before losing to Tennessee’s Christine Forkins in the championship match.
Mendoza defeated Texas’ Berenice Lopez in her opening match, then lost to Michigan’s Naudia Hernandez in the Bantam Division 119-pound final.
BARE KNUCKLE: The scheduled Aug. 11 BKFC card at Tingley Coliseum, already spiced by the presence of social-media influencer Bryce Hall in that night’s semi-main event, has gotten a bit spicier.
Two-division BKFC champion Lorenzo Hunt will work Hall’s corner that night in the latter’s fight against Gee Perez, the BKFC announced..
Hunt spectacularly KO’d Mike Richman at Tingley in February, claiming the BKFC 185-pound title. Hunt also holds the organization’s 205-pound title.
Meanwhile, Chris Camozzi, a top contender at 205 pounds, is scheduled to work Perez’s corner.
Albuquerque’s John “The Magician” Dodson is scheduled to fight the main event against the Philippines’ Joshua Ridge for the BKFC flyweight title.
Several other New Mexicans, including Dodson’s younger brother, Eric, are on the card.