- Dan Rafael, Boxing
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The first time Argenis Mendez faced Juan Carlos Salgado, it was for a vacant junior lightweight title in Salgado's home country of Mexico in September 2011. It was a spirited scrap in which Mendez dropped Salgado in the 12th round and had him in deep trouble.
But Salgado survived, made it to the final bell and won a tight unanimous decision.
Mendez won his next two fights, including an official eliminator against Martin Honorio in July, to become Salgado's mandatory challenger. With the fighters set to meet again on Saturday, Mendez (20-2, 10 KOs), 26, a 2004 Olympian from the Dominican Republic, is determined to keep Salgado down this time.
"I'm going to take care of unfinished business," he said. "I'm not going to leave the final result in the hands of the judges this time. I'm coming back with the belt for my family and team, [promoter] Acquinity Sports, and my country, Dominican Republic."
Mendez, who lives in Miami and trained for the fight in England, learned a hard lesson in the loss to Salgado, according to his representatives.
"In the first fight, Mendez should have done a little more early in the fight," said Acquinity Sports vice president Henry Rivalta. "He beat up Salgado near the end of the fight, but the judges must not have felt that he did enough to beat the defending world champion in his home country.
"Mendez doesn't plan for this fight to go the full distance. He's in great shape after going through a rigorous training camp with his trainer, Lee Beard. Salgado won't be fighting the same Mendez this Saturday night."
The 28-year-old Salgado (26-1-1, 16 KOs) will be making his fourth title defense, all of which have come against solid opponents. After beating Mendez for the belt, he defended against Miguel Beltran Jr. (although it was declared a no-contest in the second round because of an accidental head butt), Honorio and former featherweight titleholder Jonathan Barros.
The first time Argenis Mendez faced Juan Carlos Salgado, it was for a vacant junior lightweight title in Salgado's home country of Mexico in September 2011.