Rematches of competitive championship fights are truly one of the best aspects of boxing. On Saturday, March 9, boxing fans will get to experience that when IBF super featherweight champion Juan Carlos Salgado (26-1, 16 KO) rematches Argenis Mendez (20-2 10 KO).
The first fight took place in 2011, and though Salgado won the fight, it was an exciting, action-packed and competitive affair.
This is the type of rematch fight fans want to see. With Bernard Hopkins challenging light heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud later that night on HBO, this fight will serve as somewhat of an undercard event on HBO Latino.
Here's how you can catch Salgado-Mendez II.
Where: The Hangar, Costa Mesa, Calif.
When: March 9, 8:30 p.m. ET
TV: HBO Latino
The Book on Salgado
Overcoming Cuts and Tough Rival
Salgado defeated Mendez in their first fight, but he was dropped in the 12th round. He made it to his feet, but that wasn't exactly how he hoped to finish the fight.
He was hurt several times and exhausted. At the 2:20 mark of the video, Salgado goes down.
On the strength of this near-loss, Salgado knows he's in for another tough test against Mendez. His opponent has tons of confidence heading into the rematch because of how he ended the last fight.
That's not the only obstacle Salgado faces in this bout.
This will be his first fight since he had his left eyebrow surgically repaired, per Boxing Scene. After being consistently cut in this area, it was determined that a laceration from a previous bout was healing improperly.
A cyst had developed due to the scarring, and surgery was needed to repair it. The surgery was designed to keep the cut from easily re-opening in future fights.
That's the plan, but as we know, fights don't always go as planned. If Salgado is cut in this fight, how will that affect him mentally?
It's a valid question, but one we won't know the answer to unless it happens.
In the Ring
The 28-year-old champion has plenty of heart. He's an action fighter that never shies away from exchanges. That was apparent in the 12th round of the first meeting with Mendez.
He doesn't concentrate on one area of the body with his attack, and he has solid defensive instincts—at least before he gets fatigued.
At 5'9" Salgado is a fairly-tall featherweight, and he uses his height well, but Mendez also stands 5'9", so the normal length advantage isn't there.
In their first meeting, Salgado used the good combinations to take an early lead, but he couldn't keep up the pace as Mendez pressured him into the knockdown in the final round.
He had built a big enough lead to sustain the win, but he wasn't in great shape when the fight was done.
A key for him in the rematch will be his ability to withstand the early storm, and to pace himself. When he isn't punching, he needs to tie up to make sure Mendez isn't working either.
The Book on Mendez
Looking to Finish the Job
I know the 26-year-old Dominican could taste victory in the first fight when Salgado went down. Mendez had completely controlled the final round, and Salgado seemed out of it on the canvas. But the tough Mexican champion rose to his feet and survived the round.
This time, Mendez has said he wants to get Salgado before the bell sounds. He told Boxing Scene:
History will be different (this time) in California. I have studied my opponent well and know all of his weaknesses. I am prepared to go 15 rounds. This will be the difference between defeat and becoming world champion.
He may only need to go 12, but I think we get the concept.
The fight takes place in Costa Mesa, CA where Salgado figures to be the fan favorite because of the strong Mexican contingent, but Mendez may just have the mental edge.
Both he and Salgado know which fighter left the ring feeling the most confident when they last met.
In the Ring
Mendez is still a young fighter, and it seems the first Salgado fight may have been a big part of his maturation as a fighter.
He has tremendous hand speed, and developing power. He can throw a lead left hook in the same manner as a jab, but with more zip.
Who has the psychological advantage in this fight?
Mendez may never be a one-punch knockout fighter, but the speed and crispness of the punches is what makes him dangerous. He also shows good stamina, which is what served him well in the first fight with Salgado.
That said, he sometimes starts too slow and can fall into periods of inactivity. Mendez needs to remain active and consistent in this fight if he hopes to change the result.
Title Bout Championship Boxing 2 Prediction
The simulation results were close. TBCB2 had Salgado winning six of the 10 simulated bouts. According to the game, this fight only has a 30 percent chance of going the distance.
Only one of Salgado's wins came by way of decision. One was a clear KO, and the other four were TKOs.
Mendez's wins were split, though. He had two decision victories, one by stoppage due to cuts, and one was a win by disqualification. The game actually predicted that Salgado would be disqualified for repeated low blows.
That is an interesting result, but peculiar in that Salgado hasn't established a reputation for consistent fouling. Here are some screenshots from the simulation results.
I'm going away from the TBCB2 simulation. Mendez is still improving, and his confidence has to be at an all-time high for this fight.
I think he'll be aggressive, hungry and determined to take Salgado out. At the end of the night, Mendez will be the new champion by TKO victory.