Mendoza Draws with Pierson!
December 6, 2002
Last night in Grand Rapids, Michigan, a lively, enthusiastic crowd
at the DeltaPlex watched formerly red-hot middleweight contender
Epifanio Mendoza, now 16-1-1 (16) continue to slide from serious
contention by fighting to a draw with slippery and tough, but not
quite world-class Leon Pierson.
Fighting in the 8-round main event of Gerald Evans and 1World
Productions’ “How the West Was Won” show, Pierson stung Mendoza
several times with quick counter hooks to the body and head and
probably deserved the decision. Mendoza appeared very mechanical
and slow, as his long, looping swings were easily evaded. When he
did land, Mendoza’s previously paralyzing punches had little
The crowd booed the decision, 76-76, 77-75 (Mendoza) 77-75
(Pierson), strongly and some would say, deservedly so. Pierson
doesn’t always have his night and when he does, he should be
rewarded. He is now 10-6-3 (2).
For Mendoza, the prospect of his shocking Tokunbo Olajide upset
being a fluke is becoming more and more of a strong possibility
with each of his appearances since then. He suffered his first
loss (by DQ) in his previous outing.
In the main semi-final fight, Toledo’s Dallas Vargas, 5-0 (4),
clubbed Detroit’s Percel Banks high on the head with a right hand,
dropping him in round two. Banks rose and was quickly beaten back
to the floor, forcing referee Pat Schmidt to call a halt. With the
TKO win, Vargas continued to assert himself as another Super
Middle to watch for out of Ohio, joining Anthony Hanshaw. An
eventual showdown between the two would be a very hot ticket if
held in their mutual home state.
Former world-title challenger Bernard Harris, 22-16-2 (10), of
Detroit, showed a bit of unexpected power in dropping oft-beaten
Elvesto Mills, 6-19-1 (4), of Grand Rapids hard in round three of
their scheduled six-round lightweight bout. Mills survived, but
went on to lose a wide unanimous decision. The two Michiganders
were exchanging freely in a fairly entertaining fight when Harris
landed a haymaker right hand, dropped Mills, and sealed the
victory. Mills was not the same afterward
Frankie “Spider Man” O’Neil, 1-0-1, of Detroit pulled a minor
upset by scoring a four-round majority decision over talented
newcomer Harold Cutts of Grand Rapids, now 1-1. O’Neil had all the
answers for the awkward/explosive style of Cutts, who spent too
much time looking and too little time punching. When he did come
forward, Cutts scored effectively with flashy two-handed flurries,
however O’Neil seemed to have all the answers, especially in the
first two rounds. He caught Cutts on the way out with quite a few
strong right hands and worked his jab to good effect as well. An
argument could be made for a draw being the correct verdict, but
the young southpaw learned the hard way about giving rounds away
in a short fight. This was a solid, impressive way for O’Neil to
notch his first pro victory.
Rocky Smith looked good once again by walking through the punches
of surprisingly skilful Hiram Lee and clubbing him with a
relentless, powerful barrage. The end of the Light Heavyweight
bout came in round two with Lee turning his back and in pain from
the strength of Smith. With the TKO win, Smith moved to 2-1 (2),
his only loss in a thrilling war with Dallas Vargas. Smith’s
fights are always exciting because you can’t miss him and he
doesn’t stop coming.
This show was the third installment of Evans’ highly successful
“Defenders of Democracy” series and the first to be televised live
on WXSP-TV. Grand Rapids is heating up and it’s Evans and the
“perfect for boxing” DeltaPlex that are making it happen.
Grays, 2-2, went back to even in his career by blasting out the
hopefully soon-to-retire Kolmage Harris, 1-8 in a scheduled
four-round Super Middleweight fight.
In addition to the excellent work by his trainer/father Ray
Vargas, Dallas Vargas got emotional support from longtime friend
and fellow former top-notch amateur Chad Jaquillard, who
correctly implored him to box after trying to slug in the first.
Grand Rapids’ own Reggie Nash moved to 3-1 by winning a
unanimous decision over Omar Dotson, also of Grand Rapids, who
was making his professional debut. Nash got back into the win
column after suffering a highly controversial decision loss to
Wilmer Torres in his last fight. |
Speaking of Nash vs. Torres, apologies to Michigan judge
Rosemary Grable who was falsely reported as one of the two blind
mice who unbelievably gave Torres the split-decision victory at
the Palace last month. Grable was, in fact, the only voice of
judicial reason in that fight. Ms. Grable, it was a member of
your own commission who pointed at you that night.|