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Brian Mendoza

Brian Mendoza stuns Fundora with savage TKO

Brian Mendoza earns Interim WBC Super Welterweight title

Brian Mendoza looked in the mirror Saturday afternoon before heading to the biggest fight of his career. At 29, he reminded himself to look at the kid inside himself and remember his childhood dreams.

He thought of the little boy who dreamed of world title fights and opportunities like the one Sebastian Fondura presented. Then he headed to Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif., where he lived out those dreams before a national SHOWTIME audience.

“You always look up (and say) ‘I want to be this when I grow up,’” Mendoza told reporters in Carson. “I’m here. I really did it.”

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Mendoza definitely did it. He earned the Interim WBC Super Welterweight title with a left-right combination that will surely garner consideration for Knockout of the Year.

Brian Mendoza ends Fundora’s undefeated record

The 6-foot-6 Fundora (20-1-1) entered the fight with an undefeated record and the title. Other fighters might have avoided a test like the one Mendoza (22-2, 16 KOs) posed. 

Fundora, though, dismissed any regrets about taking such a stiff challenge. Nonetheless, the threat backfired. 

Mendoza gained control early in the seventh round with a powerful left hook. Fundora buckled under that shot. Mendoza then pounced with a devastating left-right combination to knock out Fundora.

Fundora sat on the canvas until he was counted out, suffering the first knockout of his career.

“It’s crazy, man,” Mendoza, a native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, said. “I’m really here. I don’t know what to do.”

Brian Mendoza
Brian Mendoza rejoices after stunning Sebastian Fundora to win the Interim WBC Super Welterweight title at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. Photos by Esther Lin/SHOWTIME.

Fundora vows return to top

The 5-foot-10 Mendoza ate a steady dose of uppercuts from Fundora, who towered over him. Fundora bloodied Brian Mendoza in the fifth round, but “La Bala” never stopped  charging.

“It was a good punch,” Fundora told Jim Gray afterward. “I didn’t recognize that moment, but I’m fine. I’m healthy now, and I’ll be back. I’ll be back to take over the division and this is a step up and a step down. 

“It happens, but I’ll be back. I’m not sorry I took this fight. This is boxing. We gotta fight and we have to make these good fights. Congratulations to Brian Mendoza. He did his thing, but, like I said, I’ll be back.”

Mendoza absorbed 100 shots compared to the 62 he delivered, according to CompuBox. Fundora also led comfortably in the judges’ scorecards up to that point, 60-54 in two cards and 59-55 in the third.

“I started losing a couple rounds, but I didn’t care,” Mendoza told Gray. “You’ll never see me give up. I would’ve given up years ago when I took some losses. I kept on sparring and look at me now.

“A year ago I was a swing bout after the main event. Nobody cared who I was or what I was doing. This is proof (that if) you keep working, you’re going to make it!”

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