Undefeated New Mexico Prospect Brian Mendoza returns to ring May ]
After the 16-month layoff, Rio Rancho boxer, Brian Mendoza will be making his highly anticipated return to the ring on Saturday night in Stockton, California. The bout will mark Mendoza’s first since signing with elite boxing promotion Top Rank.
“It’s surreal,” says Mendoza (16-0, 11KOs). “It’s the promotion of my dreams!”
This week, the Albuquerque-native signed a 5-year contract with Top Rank Promotions. Arguably one of the top three boxing promotions in the world.
The payment terms of the contract were not disclosed but it does include 16-fights: four set to take place in the first year and three each of the subsequent years.
Mendoza, 25, first caught the eye of Top Rank talent scout Frank Stea in Phoenix, Arizona during his second professional fight in 2015.
The recent signing would have likely not been possible if it were not for the life changing visit that Mendoza made in August of 2018 to Las Vegas, Nevada.
His goal in Las Vegas was to meet and train with Ismael Salas, the world renown Cuban trainer who bred both Olympic gold medalists on the Cuban National Team, and whom has also trained 19 professional world champions.
“I met him and came back to Rio Rancho for a week,” says Mendoza. “I spoke with my parents who wanted to leave New Mexico for a while; they and my younger brother all decided to make the move with me.”
The quartet shared a spare bedroom at a family friend’s house in Las Vegas while they got their feet settled in their new city.
“My first sparring session with Yordenis Ugas went well,” says Mendoza about training against the world title challenger at the Top Rank gym. “That’s when Salas said he wanted to train me!”
Despite a positive outlook with a new change in scenery, Mendoza’s managerial issues followed preventing him from actually getting a fight in the ring.
“Fights kept falling through and no big company would sign me because I was with Cameron Dunkin,” explains Mendoza who spent several months trying to get out of his contract with his now former manager.
Eventually, Mendoza was able to get out of his contract with Dunkin and signed with Hector Cordova with FercoBox. During that time, Mendoza was also able to reestablish his previous communication with Stea who was pivotal in making the Top Rank deal happened.
“I had offers from just about every company while I was in Vegas,” says Mendoza. “I turned down a bit more money from other companies but Top Rank, I feel, builds their fighters.”
On Saturday, Mendoza will be facing Carlos Rodriguez (12-7-1, 5KO), a former opponent of his former stablemate, Fidel Maldonado Jr. of Albuquerque.
“They didn’t give me an easy one,” says Mendoza of his Top Rank promotional debut opponent. “I’ve had trouble getting up for fights. I’ve seen him give guys hell!”
“I have all the reason in the world to be up for this fight,” he says of his contest which will be streamed on ESPN+. “I feel like this is a main event PPV.”