Mendez cruises, Escalante wins in brutal fashion
REDWOOD CITY – Paul Mendez ran his unbeaten streak to seven with a unanimous 10-round decision victory over Alfredo Contreras at the Fox Theater Saturday night.
“Contreras was a tough guy with a tough chin, but I still got the job done,” said Mendez, who won by scores of 99-91 twice and 100-90.
Mendez (12-2-1, 5 KOs), who trains in Salinas but resides in Walnut Creek, ascended from middleweight to face Contreras, a super middleweight from Los Mochis, Mex., who outweighed him by almost four pounds at Friday’s weigh-in.
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After two rounds of trench warfare that had the virtually sold out crowd on its feet, Mendez stopped trading power punches with Contreras (13-16-2, 5 KOs). Instead, he kept the fight in the center of the ring through the middle rounds, circling the Mexican and doing a paint job with left jabs and the occasional right hand.
As Mendez’s confidence grew in the later frames, he attempted to let his hands go and unleash a sweeping left hook in spurts. Though it landed flush several times, the heavier Contreras shook off the shots with ease, grinning and even taunting Mendez to keep launching assaults.
However, as is the case with most journeymen shipped into town to take on the house fighter, Contreras’s will to win did not match his sturdy punch resistance. While he sporadically returned fire, Contreras neither hurt Mendez at any point in the fight, nor did he go for broke after falling way behind on points.
When the final bell rang, there was no doubt whose arm would be raised in triumph. While Mendez conceded that the process to get there could have been more exciting, he achieved his prime objective—keeping his winning streak intact for a more substantial fight down the line.
“I don’t know if it’s that Mexican instinct in me that wants to trade punches,” Mendez said. “I love to get in shootouts, but…if I want to succeed in this business, if I want to make it far, if I want to be a world champion, I have to listen to my team.”
Max Garcia, Mendez’s trainer, told CSNBayArea.com that his fighter will return on July 26 at the Fox Theater’s next card, but most likely closer to the 160-pound middleweight limit.
With 49ers running back Frank Gore cheering him on from ringside, junior bantamweight Bruno Escalante (8-1-1, 4 KOs) electrified the fight fans with a second-round knockout of Christian Salgado in the co-feature.
After the two pugilists sized each other up during the opening frame, the southpaw Escalante sent Salgado (4-2, 1 KO), from Ensenada, Mex., sprawling to the canvas with a right jab and explosive left cross.
“I just stuck to the gameplan. My corner told me to use the jab and the left [hand] would come, and it did,” said Escalante, a San Carlos resident after stops in the Philippines and Hawaii.
Though Salgado would beat the count, Escalante would put an end to matters with a laser of a straight left to the body that had his foe ultimately spitting out his mouthpiece and grasping for air. Referee Ed Collantes halted the bout at 1:16.
“We have this thing where if any of our fighters drop someone to the body, then I have to buy a steak dinner…so I’m happily buying,” said Brian Schwartz, Escalante’s trainer.
San Francisco junior welterweight Jonathan Chicas (10-1, 4 KOs) recovered from an early scare from veteran Adolfo Landeros of Mexico City to capture a six-round unanimous decision.
In the second frame, the favored Chicas was floored by a left uppercut from Landeros (22-31-2, 10 KOs) after lingering an extra second too long on the inside.
But Chicas would recover from the knockdown, reasserting control by the fourth round with a variety of hellacious body shots and right hands upstairs. Scores were 58-55 twice and 59-55.
San Jose junior lightweight Andy Vences (2-0, 1 KO) dealt Miguelito Marti (0-1) a rude welcome to the pro ranks. A couple of left hooks to the body from Vences stopped the Riverside fighter in his tracks and forced Collantes to halt the bout at 2:58 of the first round.
San Francisco junior middleweight Ricardo Pinell (4-0-1, 3 KOs) won by controversial knockout over Antioch’s Mike Alexander (2-7-3). As the second round concluded, the southpaw Pinell threw a sharp left hand to Alexander’s jaw that landed momentarily after the bell. Instantly, Alexander fell flat on his back.
Alexander lay motionless on the canvas for several minutes before paramedics stabilized his neck. Subsequently, he regained consciousness and was able to raise his arm to the roar of the crowd as he was carried out on a stretcher. Daniel Castillo, Alexander’s chief second, informed CSNBayArea.com that his team would undoubtedly appeal referee Gerard White’s knockout ruling.
Sun Valley’s Christian Silva (1-3, 1 KO) repeatedly found a home for his looping right hand and seemed to have edged Redwood City southpaw Jesus Sandoval (3-1-2), but the hometown featherweight was effective in spurts took a split decision. A pair of 39-37 and 40-36 scores for the southpaw Sandoval overruled the lone 39-37 card for Silva.
CITY’S MAYFIELD AND MITCHELL INK PROMOTIONAL DEALS
San Francisco’s Karim “Hard Hitta” Mayfield made the biggest move of his career, working out a departure with promoter Prize Fight and signing a three-year deal with Top Rank.
“I feel like this is the culmination of all my hard work,” the 32-year-old Fillmore native told CSNBayArea.com. “I know I’ll be in position to fight for a world title now, and I know Top Rank can take me there.”
Mayfield (17-0-1, 10 KOs) joins a stable that currently includes Manny Pacquiao, San Leandro’s Nonito Donaire, and WBA 140-pound titleholder Khabib Allakhverdiev, who would likely represent the City slugger’s best chance for a long-awaited world championship fight.
“I made to sure to tell Top Rank I want to bring a fight to the Bay Area,” Mayfield added, crediting his managers LaRon Mayfield and Marlon Sullivan for handling negotiations. “Nonito and me on the same card for the fans at home would be something.”
Another San Francisco fighter, heavyweight prospect LaRon Mitchell, signed a five-year contract with Goossen Tutor—the same company that promotes Oakland super middleweight champion Andre Ward.
Mitchell (1-0, 1 KO), a 33-year-old San Francisco State graduate who took up boxing a shade under three years ago, fell just one win shy of making the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team. Since turning pro in March, the slick southpaw won his pro debut and currently trains out of the Ring of Fire Gym in Brisbane.
“The money you make doesn’t do anything for you unless it’s money you can retire with, and you don’t get that money unless you fight the best in the world,” Mitchell said. “That’s my goal—to test myself against the best in the world.”