Argenis Mendez is back in the hunt. The former world champion ended a two-fight skid Tuesday night with a 10-round split decision over Ivan Redkach in the main event of a PBC on FS1 card at the Sportsmen's Lodge Event Center in Studio City, California.
The difference in the 137-pound bout? A one-point deduction levied by referee Raul Caiz Jr. in Round 3 after Redkach headbutted Mendez, despite the absence of a warning preceding the foul.
One judge scored it 95-94 for Redkach, but was overruled by tallies of 96-93 and 95-94 for Mendez, who was fighting for the first time in 2017 on the heels of consecutive losses.
“I used my skill and my speed throughout the fight, but I waited to come forward until the fourth or fifth round,” Mendez said. “I knew he wasn't going to be able to knock me out because I have great defense. I see every punch.”
If Argenis Mendez (24-5-1, 12 KOs) truly saw every shot coming at him from Redkach, it was largely due to the Ukrainian southpaw's reckless pressure. Both men were desperate for a victory and fought like it, but Redkach walked into a lot of straight rights against a more patient boxer.
Certainly, each man badly needed a jump-start to their once promising careers. Ivan Redkach (20-3-1, 16 KOs) entered the bout on the heels of two lopsided defeats—a stoppage by Dejan Zlaticanin and a wide unanimous decision against Tevin Farmer—along with a draw in his previous five fights.
With his career now at a crossroads following a promising amateur career that spanned 300 fights, the 31-year-old Ukrainian, who has lived in Los Angeles since 2009, had a hard time accepting defeat, especially after scoring an apparent knockdown right before the end of Round 6 that Caiz ruled a slip.
“The judges were wrong; I won that fight,” Redkach said. “I felt that I knocked him down and the referee didn't call it, and he took the point away and that cost me.
“I never felt any pain. I fought like I wanted to and I thought I did enough. They were wrong. This was my night.”
Redkach did press the action throughout the fight, but Mendez turned the aggression against him with plenty of sharp counterpunches off his back foot. The 30-year-old Dominican, who lives in Brooklyn, New York, also was the far more accurate puncher.
Much like his opponent, Mendez also needed a win to stay relevant in the 135-pound division after being knocked out by current world titleholder Robert Easter Jr. and dropping a unanimous decision to rising British contender Luke Campbell last year.
The former 130-pound champion got started early with a body shot that caught Redkach's attention in Round 2.
Redkach continued to pour on the pressure, but Mendez was able to expertly duck and dodge the wild shots much of the time before responding with short, straight rights down the pipe.
Redkach can make an argument about the missed knockdown, which would have swung the result to a draw, but the final verdict seemed to be the correct one, though, as Mendez appeared in control for most of the fight and finished strong, sweeping the final two rounds on all three scorecards.
Mendez hurt Redkach badly with a right hand in the 10th and looked to be on the verge of gaining a stoppage, but Redkach managed to clinch enough to make it to the final bell.
“I thought the scorecards were too close,” Mendez said. “I thought I won by a much larger margin.”
Regardless of the margin, Mendez surely earned the win—and along with it, more fights that matter.
For a complete look at Redkach vs Mendez, visit our fight page.