The result on some fighters’ records seems as if a bout never occurred, despite the listing of an opponent, date and location.
Rances Barthelemy thought he had fulfilled his world title goal when the Miami resident scored a second-round knockout victory over defending champion Argenis Mendez on Jan. 3 in Minneapolis. Barthelemy left the Target Center ring with the International Boxing Federation junior-lightweight belt.
But world championship euphoria proved fleeting for Barthelemy. The two-punch combination that knocked Mendez out occurred after the bell to end the round, and Mendez’s camp successfully appealed the bout’s initial result. The outcome was changed to no contest, and Mendez retained his title.
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The IBF ordered a direct rematch and Barthelemy will have another opportunity at Mendez’s title Thursday night at AmericanAirlines Arena. Mendez and Barthelemy will meet in the first South Florida world title fight since November 2011.
“I am just happy to have another opportunity at the title,” Barthelemy said Wednesday. “All that is left right now is that the bell rings to start the fight. I am ready.”
Although Barthelemy (19-0, 12 KO, 1 NC) was denied the victory because of the late punches, the native of Cuba floored and hurt Mendez in the closing seconds of the second round. A groggy Mendez (21-2-1, 11 KO, 1 NC) barely beat the 10-count before Barthelemy dropped him again with the shots after the bell.
Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, who promotes Mendez, recognized that Barthelemy was winning the fight but said he did not deserve the knockout victory.
“He hit the fighter after the bell and that is against the rules,” Tyson said immediately after the bout. Tyson’s promotional company, Iron Mike Productions, won the IBF-ordered purse bid to promote Thursday’s second bout.
Said Mendez, a native of the Dominican Republic and a New York resident: “Obviously, this is great challenge but [Thursday] you will see the best in the world and that will be me.”
Thursday’s undercard will feature Tampa resident Jeff Lacy (26-4, 18 KO), a former U.S. Olympian and super-middleweight titleholder, against Humberto Savigne (12-1, 9 KO) in a scheduled 10-round light-heavyweight match. Another scheduled 10-round bout matches cruiserweight and Miami resident Yunier Dorticos (17-0, 17 KO) against former super-middleweight contender Edison Miranda (35-9, 30 KO).
The show’s opening bout will start at 7 p.m..