The fights on Saturday night (December 15) packed a huge wallop from the Storm House in Salinas, California. The event was broadcast by Telefutura. The main bout on the Solo Boxeo Tecate Card was a 10 rounder between middleweight prospect Paul Mendez (11-2-1, 5 KOs) against the tough ring veteran Lester Gonzalez (12-8-4 with 6 KOs). At stake was the IBA Middleweight Belt. Both fighters tipped the scales at about 160 pounds.
The match-up turned out to be a real war from the opening bell. Rounds 1 and 4 were about even with the fighters jockeying wildly to gain an incremental advantage. Mendez picked up round 3 with a clear knockdown of Gonzalez, who gained a slight advantage in round 2. Everything changed in round 5.
Mendez came out swinging and scored with multiple head and body shots which overwhelmed Gonzalez prior to the end of the round. The contest was stopped by referee Ed Collantes. Gonzalez simply ran out of steam. He had a tired appearance by the end of the round. Clearly, he needs to go back to training camp to do a more rigorous workout which includes more sprints and perhaps better sparring. Mendez became the IBA Middleweight Champ and the belt was secured tightly around his waist in front of the wildly cheering fans in attendance.
In the welterweight division, Oscar Godoy (9-2, 4 KOs) fought Javier Gomez (13-10, 9 KOs) from Tijuana, Mexico. Gomez was competitive in round 1, although he had his hands down too often. By round 3, Godoy scored with a TKO which ended the fight. Gomez was simply outclassed in this fight.
Jonathan Garcia (10-0) placed his undefeated welterweight record on the line against Rodolfo Armenta (11-9-1, 9 KOs) of Rio Rico, Arizona. Garcia came out swinging and ended the fight just before the end of round 1. Armenta threw many wild punches and ran out of steam quickly. In addition, Garcia had a 4 inch advantage in reach which he used quite effectively to pile up points on the score card and end the fight quickly. Armenta was simply out of his league in this fight.
Welterweight Preston Freeman (3-0, 1 KO) earned a narrow victory over Vicente Guzman (0-1) who was on his pro debut. Rounds 1 and 4 were roughly even. Guzman was knocked down once in round 2 and Freeman took a horrific beating at the end of round 3. The judges scored the fight 40-35 in favor of Freeman, although the fight was much closer than that. Freeman’s punches were crisper and this aspect may have gained him more points on the cards. Clearly, Guzman had nothing to be ashamed of and he has a bright future ahead of him in boxing.
Saturday night was clearly a night for great fighting. A lot of things were settled. Chief among them was Mendez clearly being the better boxer between him and Gonzalez. Godoy, Garcia and Freeman also advanced in entertaining fights. Clearly, this was a night for boxing fans to remember.