Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Boxing: Mendoza leaps (on short notice) at opportunity

Brian Mendoza will be fighting on Saturday in Minneapolis at the middleweight limit of 160 pounds, the heaviest of his professional boxing career.

He’ll be doing so against former world champion Jeison Rosario, one of the sport’s hardest punchers.

Sounds like two bad ideas, right?

The oddsmakers think so, making Mendoza, a Cleveland High School graduate, close to a 2-to-1 underdog.

But for Mendoza, sporting an outstanding record (20-2, 14 KOs) but at 28 still looking for that signature victory, Saturday’s opportunity was too great to pass up – even on short notice.

When Rosario’s original opponent fell out barely a week ago, Mendoza leapt at the chance.

Saturday’s 10-rounder in a semi-main event on Showtime, Mendoza said during a news conference, means “Everything. I’m about to add a former united world champion to my résumé. How could I not be excited for that?

“This is huge. … It’s all up from here. I’m about to show the world what I’m capable of.”

As for the brief notice, Mendoza said it’s not as if he’d been on his couch eating junk food.

“(People) think this is a late sub, but I’ve been training since back in April,” he said. “Not just training, but full-blown camp. I’ve been locked in this whole year, and (fans and media) are about to see on Saturday night that this isn’t a last-minute sub. Anything but.”

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Mendoza, who lives and trains in Las Vegas, Nevada, began his pro career at junior middleweight (154 pounds), then dropped to welterweight (147), then returned to 154 for his three most recent fights.

A fight at middleweight would appear to favor Rosario (23-3-1, 17 KOs), who won and lost his title at 154 pounds but has won his last three bouts – all by knockout – weighing 168½, 160 and 163 pounds.

Mendoza would remind everyone that he packs some power of his own.

“This is where preparation meets opportunity,” he said, “and I’m ready to show out and make this my golden moment.”

LEGACY IS BACK: After an Aug. 13 card at Expo New Mexico, Legacy Promotions’ Aaron Perez said he had no plans to stage another show in 2022.

Of course, plans can change. Albuquerque super flyweight Abraham Perez (5-0, two KOs), the promoter’s son, is scheduled to fight the six-round main event of a Nov. 12 Legacy card at the Inn of the Mountain Gods in Mescalero.

The elder Perez continues to put his 23-year-old fighter in progressively deeper water. His scheduled opponent in Mescalero is Mexico’s David Vargas Zamora (6-1-2, four KOs). This, after Abraham was tested in August by Californian Isaac Anguiano, who was 3-0 at the time. Perez defeated Anguiano by unanimous six-round decision.

The Inn of the Mountain Gods card, as announced, also features an intriguing welterweight bout between Albuquerqueans Clinton Chavez (6-0, four KOs) and former St. Pius X and UNM football player Xavier Madrid (3-1, one KO).

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