New Mexico’s Brian Mendoza claimed the WBC Interim title by defeating Sebastian Fundora with a brutal knockout in the seventh round, despite being well behind on the judges’ scorecards.
The distinguishable Fundora is often noted for his eye-catching 6ft 5in figure, which to the amazement of fans, does not hinder his performances at super-welterweight.
‘The Towering Inferno’ headlined against Mendoza in a bid to defend his position as the WBC mandatory challenger and his opportunity of a shot against undisputed champion, Jermell Charlo. But, in a shocking turn of events, Fundora lost his undefeated record and his interim title.
As many predicted, the 25-year-old dominated the early exchanges, establishing his rangy jab and keeping Mendoza at a distance.
Heading into the seventh round, Fundora was comfortably ahead on the three scorecards, winning every round on two of them (60-54, 60-54, 59-55) and seemed to be cruising to victory.
That was until Mendoza caught him with a picture-perfect left-hook, followed by a devastating right-hook, and another left to shock the crowd.
Unable to beat the count, Fundora laid alone on the floor in disbelief, with the crowd stunned into silence. Meanwhile, Mendoza pounded the canvas in joy, securing a career best victory and a potential shot at the super-welterweight title.
Fundora will undoubtedly be clamouring for a rematch after a long wait for a title shot himself and a dominant performance until he was stopped.
It is far from the end for the Californian fan-favourite, who may have learnt one of the sports most important lessons in the importance of maintaining focus, but credit must be given to Mendoza who had a split-second to take advantage and did so in emphatic style.
Before either man can look towards a title shot, it is likely that they will have to wait for Tim Tszyu to have his turn, having been scheduled to fight Charlo earlier this year in a clash that was postponed due to an injury to the champion.