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Friday Night Fights fizzles in frozen Minneapolis to open 2014 season

The first ESPN Friday Night Fights on 2014 took place on Jan. 3, 2014 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The first ESPN Friday Night Fights on 2014 took place on Jan. 3, 2014 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Matt Blewett/The Minnesota Sports Report

When promoters the likes of “Iron” Mike Tyson (Iron Mike Productions) join forces with local promoters like Seconds Out Promotions and ESPN’s Friday Night Fights gets involved the media buzz can get quite large.

A look at the ring before the main event.
A look at the ring before the main event.
Matt Blewett/The Minnesota Sports Report

Minnesota boxing fans came to see local rising star, Caleb Truax take on Ossie Duran in a 10 round co-main event. Nationally, Argenis Mendez faced Rances Barthelemy in a 12 round main event with the International Boxing Federation (IBF) lightweight title on the line – Mendez defending. That said, the show was about Truax and his 26th professional fight.

What happens when a 23-1-1 tactition (Truax) enters the ring with a 28-11-2 aggressive puncher in a fight that was arranged at the last minute due to a late withdrawal of Truax’s scheduled opponent, Derrick Ennis? A bull fight.

The early rounds were slow as the two circled each other, getting a feel for the other’s style. Duran drew first blood with a connection to Truax’s nose in the late 3rd/early 4th rounds. Truax danced around the ring like a matador looking for openings to exploit the aggressive Duran while Duran moved forward. Truax focused on Duran’s body and slowing him down and was able to control much of the fight although the stunning punches came sporadically from Duran.

In the end both fighters landed punches but neither stunned the other and the judges awarded neither the victory in a unanimous draw with all three judges scored the bout a draw. Both fighters were disappointed but the bout was 10 rounds of give and take with neither taking control. For Truax, a disappointment as he was looking forward to a world title shot this year, but it is not a defeat.

The night’s main featured an IBF lightweight title fight between the defending champion, Argenis Mendez and his challenger, Rances Barthelemy.

Mendez controlled the fight early, driving Barthelemy into the ropes at one point in the first round but it would be Barthelemy who would score the first knockdown in round three. Mendez got up only to be rocked by a vicious left/right combo boy Barthelemy. It was a couple seconds later that the controversy began. As the bell rung Barthelemy landed a left hook to the temple of Mendez that caused the lights to go out. You can watch the video below and judge for yourself.

Mendez has filed an appeal with the IBF to have the fight reviewed.

This article originally appeared on The Minnesota Sports Report. Stay tuned to The Minnesota Sports Report for Minnesota sports news.