Saturday night in Minneapolis, Brian Mendoza got the signature boxing victory he’d been seeking – and how.
Mendoza, a Cleveland High School graduate who lives and trains in Las Vegas, Nevada, scored a fifth-round knockout of former world champion Jeison Rosario. A picture-perfect Mendoza right uppercut brought a dramatic conclusion to the bout.
Afterward, Mendoza (21-2, 15 knockouts) said he believes he deserves a world title shot.
“Give me a title shot, please, man,” Mendoza said in the ring after the fight. “I’ve put in my work. I just showed everybody … we’re ready.”
The bout was a semi-main event on a Showtime national telecast, a card staged by Tom Brown (TBC Promotions), among the nation’s busiest and most influential promoters. Mendoza’s victory will not go unnoticed.
Saturday’s bout was Mendoza’s first at the middleweight limit of 160 pounds after fighting the first 22 bouts of his career at welterweight (147) or junior middleweight (154). Saturday’s result strongly suggests he could thrive at middleweight should he so choose.
Mendoza won despite having taken the bout on short notice after Rosario’s original opponent dropped out. Before the fight, however, Mendoza said he’d never been out of the gym and was fully prepared.
He wasn’t wrong.
The counter argument to Mendoza’s plea for a world title shot, is perhaps, that Rosario had seen his best days before stepping into the ring on Saturday. Mendoza also dropped Rosario in the second round.
Afterward, Rosario (23-4-1, 17 KOs) announced his retirement. (We shouldn’t hold him to that.)
Mendoza was one of New Mexico’s best amateur boxers before turning pro in May 2014. He reeled off 18 straight victories before dropping an eight-round split decision to Larry Gomez in May 2019.
His only other loss came via unanimous decision 14 months ago against still-unbeaten (19-0, 15 KOs) Jesús Alejandro Ramos.
Cleveland HS grad KOs former world champion