In an update to the controversial ending in the IBF World Jr. Lightweight Championship fight between champion Argenis Mendez and challenger Rances Barthelemy, the Minnesota department of labor and industry has officially changed the result of the bout to a no decision. The fight which took place on January 3rd at the Target Center in Minneapolis was originally won by Barthelemy via second round knockout. The basis of the controversy was that Barthelemy knocked Mendez out by landing a combination that landed after the bell had rung to end the second round. Originally Mendez was counted out by Referee Pete Podgorski as Podgorski originally ruled the punches landed by Barthelemy to be legal.
According to a written ruling by Minnesota department of labor and industry Commissioner Ken B. Peterson released on Thursday stated quote “The referee's ruling that Mr. Mendez had been legally knocked out was inadvertent through what can only be considered human error. Referee Podgorski acknowledges that he was getting into position, but the bell sounded while he was circling so his decision was based upon what he could hear and see at the time. The law requires that a Commissioner overrule the referee and enforce the plain language of the rules. For the purposes of the State of Minnesota, the boxing contest between Mr. Mendez and Mr. Barthelemy is a No Decision. The State of Minnesota is indifferent regarding the issue of who is the holder of the Super Featherweight title of the International Boxing Federation as a result of this decision. The International Boxing Federation, not the State of Minnesota, has authority over its titles.”
The International Boxing Federation (IBF) has reinstated Mendez as it’s Jr. Lightweight World Champion. As this observer stated following the controversial ending of this fight earlier this month, I believe that the fairest course of action in this circumstance would be for the IBF to mandate an immediate rematch between Mendez and Barthelemy.
Although as I stated there may be fans who may have been of the opinion that Rances Barthelemy was on his way to a convincing victory over Mendez as he had dominated the fight up to it’s conclusion, it was up to both the IBF and those who regulate Boxing in the state of Minnesota to review the footage of this fight and make a decision based on rules and regulations and not assumptions as to what may or may not have happened had the fight continued with no controversy. For now as I stated in my earlier coverage of this fight that I hoped this controversy would be resolved as quickly as possible has been realized.
The one thing that is clear is that the story of Argenis Mendez versus Rances Barthelemy is not finished yet. For the sake of both fighters hopefully a rematch will be made as soon as possible. Stay tuned.
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