Newly crowned International Boxing Federation (IBF) super featherweight titlist Argenis "The Thunderstorm" Mendez (21-2, 11 KOs) has given his promoter, Acquinity Sports, its first world champion.
Last Saturday night in Costa Mesa (Calif.), Mendez became an instant star by registering a sensational Knockout of the Year caliber victory over defending IBF champion Juan Carlos Salgado (26-2-1, 16 KOs) on HBO Latino.
Mendez, a 2004 Dominican Republic Olympian now living in Miami, dropped Salgado in the opening round and finished off his Mexican opponent in the fourth. The two had fought eight months ago in Mexico, in which Salgado won a controversial 12-round decision by scores of 114-112, 114-112, and 115-110.
Mendez, who has risen to No. 2 in The Ring Magazine ratings, was the mandatory challenger and the 26-yearold promised that he wasn't going to leave the outcome of this fight in the hands of the judges again.
"We were confident in what he was going to do," Mendez' promoter Henry Rivalta (Acquinity Sports) said. "He knew Salgado's weaknesses going into the fight. He never recovered from the first-round knockdown. Mendez is a great athlete. You should see him play basketball. I think the difference for Argenis this fight was him working so hard and well with trainer, Lee Beard, and the relationship he now has with his promotional team. The kid was on the shelf after losing to Salgado. I saw a lot of talent in this kid and bought his promotional contract."
Acquinity Sports has been in business only a little more than a year. Mendez becoming its first world champion is testament to the hands-on, supportive philosophy it has with all its boxers, as well as a sure sign that Acquinity Sports is a rising player making a name for itself as a full-service boxing operations company. Rivalta is quick to note that Mendez' accomplishment is just the beginning for Acquinity Sports.
"This was very important for Acquinity Sports," Rivalta spoke about the significance of Mendez becoming the company's first world champion. "This is a major step-up for us, legitimacy, and we have a lot of other great kids in our stable like (WBA #2 featherweight) Claudio 'The Matrix" Marrero (14-0, 11 KOs), who fights WBA champion Nicholas Walters on May 11, (WBA #6 bantamweight) Juan Carlos Payno (12-0, 6 KOs), (super bantamweight) Alexei Collado (15-0, 14 KOs), and newly signed Hylon Williams, Jr. (16-1, 3 KOs), who is dropping down to 126 pounds and I predict will be world champion. And the list goes on for us.
"For me, personally, Mendez' win was significant. I've been promoting since 2005 and he is the first world champion I've developed. I'm very happy. He is going to fight two or three more times at 130 before moving up to 135 to take on the likes of (Adrian) Broner or (Ricky) Burns. Mendez and Juan Manual Lopez - Dominican vs. Puerto Rican - would be a big TV fight, and so would a fight against (Yuriorkis) Gamboa. We welcome the best."