They say history repeats itself. Well, it sure does in professional boxing. The prize on January 24, 2015 is the International Boxing Association Super Middleweight Title being contested by the 25 year-old Paul “El Gallo Negro” Mendez (15-2-2, 6 KOs) from Salinas, California and the 28 year-old Ernesto “Gatti” Berrospe (10-5-0, 5 KOs) from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.
The last time anyone fought for this obscure title was back on March 16, 2007, almost eight years ago. The combatants were a top prospect by the name of John Duddy of New York, N. Y. by way of Derry, Northern Ireland, UK and the 37 year-old journeyman fighter Anthony “The Bullet” Bonsante (29-8-3, 18 KOs) of Shakopee, Minnesota.
If you’re any kind of boxing fan you should remember the highly touted Duddy who at the time was 18-0. There’s also a chance you might recall Bonsante who was a contestant on NBC’s boxing reality TV show “The Contender”. After getting knocked down by Jesse Brinkley, Bonsante became the only man in that TV series to find himself flat on the canvas.
The fight between Duddy and Bonsante was staged at the former Mecca of Boxing, Madison Square Garden. The promoter had secured not only the rights for the IBA Middleweight title, he also paid the sanctioning fees for the WBC Continental Americas Middleweight title.
The fight turned out to be a joke and Ireland’s Duddy, the highly touted prospect, won easily with scores of 89-82, 88-83 and 90-81. The fight was stopped in the 9th round of the scheduled 12 rounder on a Technical Decision. While no one questioned the judges’ scores, they did wonder why Duddy was not penalized for what looked like an intentional head butt which led to the stoppage.
Duddy retired in 2010 after his poor performance against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Bonsante, now 44 years-old, last fought on May 31 of last year, an unanimous decision win over the 44 year-old Sam “The Punching Policeman” Hill (17-15-1) a gent who hadn’t won a fight in almost nine years.
Getting back to the Mendez vs. Berrospe contest
Who wins this one? Based on past experience, you got to figure the 25 year old Californian Paul Mendez will. Why? He’s had an opportunity to train for well over two months at The Summit up on Big Bear Lake with some of the best boxers in the sport. His opponent, the 28 year-old, soon to be 29 year-old club fighter, Ernesto Berrospe is from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico which is easily 2000 miles from the Capay Valley. You would expect that Mendez will have a much louder cheering section.
Berrospe’s management team had their fighter train for three weeks at the Marron Boxing Camp in Lakeside, CA. More and more pro fighters are seeing the benefits of training at such a Spartan-like facility. It’s a get-away from the distractions of family and friends which allows the boxers to concentrate better. Antonio DeMarco and Alan Sanchez can attest to it’s advantages of the Mountain run and lack of interruptions.
Berrospe, who is 5’8” tall and has a much shorter reach, will have his hands full when facing Mendez, who stands 6’1 inch tall and has a reach of 76 inches. Mendez can win easily by jettisoning in and out to score and yet remain at a safe distance to make Berrospe totally ineffective.
Berrospe needs to avoid getting hit by Mendez’s stiff jab and move quickly to get in close and work over Mendez’s midsection. If the opening presents itself, he needs to land his powerful uppercut. At no time can he let Mendez roam free. He must back him up against the ropes or work him over in the corner.
In what stage of their boxing careers do we find these warriors? You’d have to say both are at the crossroads of their careers where one road leads to being a major player and the other road leads to anonymity, that of being known as a club fighter, taking the scraps and having that ugly “W” tattooed on your forehead.
Mendez hasn’t fought in almost nine months. In his last fight in April of 2014, he won an unanimous decision against Santiago Perez. In that fight he sustained a shoulder injury but he’s now fully recovered. He’s now looking forward to getting one victory after another until he gets his shot at a world title.
If we take a look at his two losses, Mendez lost in his third fight to David Tabatadze, a more than pedestrian fighter, and later to San Diego’s James Parison (14-1) of Chula Vista in a split decision. He also fought to a draw with the Russian Dmitry Chudinov (14-0-2, 9 KOs) and the less than spectacular Louis Rose (8-2-1). He did beat Lester “El Cubanito” Gonzalez of San Diego. With his current record, he can not afford a loss.
In Berrospe’s last fight, a first round stoppage, he got battered pillar to post by Daniel Sandoval (36-3-0, 33 KOs) who dropped him three times. The other losses were also to above average but not remarkable boxers, Cosme Rivera (37-19-3, 25 KOs), Ricardo Cano (17-12-5, 10 KOs), and twice to Juventino Barrera (23-13-1, 12 KOs).
The battle between these two gutsy, seasoned boxers will take place Saturday evening, January 24th, at the Cache Creek Casino Resort, 14455 California Highway 16 in Brooks, California in the beautiful Capay Valley which is located west of Sacramento, off the 505 as you head north from Vacaville, CA.
Is it possible for Berrospe to pull off the upset? Being a fan of fair play, you would hope so, but at this juncture you would have to say the cards are certainly stacked against him.
Addendum to our earlier article: As expected, Mendez, who weighed in at 160 pounds, outclassed his opponent and took charge from the opening bell by utilizing the stiff jabs, hard straight rights and left hooks to the body. As the first round concluded Berrospe appeared to be in some pain as he walked back to his corner. Berrospe was pointing to his right arm indicating a possible injury to his right bicep. After the referee checked in with Berrospe, his corner and the fight doctor, the fight was stopped.
In the co-main event is the 25 year-old junior lightweight Guy Robb (14-1-0, 6 KOs) of Sacramento, CA who is set to face Jose Silveira (15-12, 6 KOs) of Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. Robb is trained by Ray Woods and managed by Herb Stone. Like Mendez, Robb wants to put on a great show in front of the home-folk to position himself for a shot at a title. Addendum: Robb had the same success and by the seventh round, referee Michael Margado called for a halt to the action.
Also featured is Andy “El Tiburon” Vences of San Jose, CA (9-0, 5 KOs) taking on Cesar Valenzuela (7-3-1, 2 KOs) of Phoenix, Arizona; Cruiserweight Ryan “Rhino” Bourland (5-0, 3 KOs) of Vacaville, CA taking on Loren Meyers (9-20-1, 2 KOs); lightweight Arturo Quintero (16-4-1, 9 KOs) of San Jose, CA taking on Mario Hermosillo and finally Morris Rodriguez (5-5-1) of Sacramento, CA is set to face Brandon Adams (2-2, 1 KO) of Stockton, CA.
The undercard results: Andy Vences scored a fifth round TKO of Valenzuela; Ryan Bourland took every round from Meyers to earn an unanimous decision; Arturo Quintero stopped Hermosillo in round three; the Morris Rodriguez versus Brandon Adams bout was scratched and replaced by the Michael Gaxiola of Modesto, CA (3-0) drubbing of Adrian Rodriguez (0-4-1) of Oakland, CA by way of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico.
The night of boxing was presented by Don Chargin Productions in association with Paco Presents Boxing and the Cache Creek Casino Resort.