Doug Fischer

Mendez stops Livingston with controversial body shot

Northern California-based middleweight Paul Mendez scored a controversial seventh-round stoppage of once-beaten DonYil Livingston in a Telefutura-televised bout from Woodland, Calif. on Saturday.

Mendez (10-2-1, 4 knockouts), of Delano, Calif., appeared to drop and stop Livingston with a body shot landed in the first minute of the seventh round of their scheduled eight-round Solo Boxeo main event. However, Telefutura replays clearly showed that Mendez’s body shot landed below Livingston’s beltline.

The initial call of referee Dan Collins stood and Mendez was awarded a seventh-round technical knockout victory but Livingston can appeal the official decision to the California State Athletic Commission with the taped evidence from the Solo Boxeo broadcast and conceivably push to have the result changed to a No Contest.

Should the result change a rematch may be in order. Their fight was a good one up until the stoppage. Both middleweights started fast and hard exchanges highlighted the second and third rounds. Livingston (8-2-1, 4 KOs), a Palmdale-based native of Tulsa, Okla., was quicker with his jab and appeared stronger on the inside whenever they grappled.

Mendez, who stands 6-foot-1 with a 78-inch wingspan, negated his height and reach advantage by not working a consistent jab but he outworked his shorter opponent, particularly when he was able to press the 28-year-old former amateur standout to the ropes.

Mendez rocked Livingston with a right hand at the start of the fourth round. Livingston returned the favor one minute into the fifth, buzzing Mendez with a right hand that made his 23-year-old foe hold on.

Mendez was busier and more aggressive in round six but both landed uppercuts when Livingston’s back was to the ropes.

The fight appeared up for grabs at the time of the stoppage. It’s a pity the ending came from an uncalled foul.

In the co-featured bout of the broadcast, junior featherweight prospect Manuel “Tino” Avila improved to 10-0, with three KOs, by outboxing and outpointing 35-year-old Colombian veteran John Alberto Molina (32-20-3, 20 KOs) over eight rounds.  

Avila, a 20-year-old former amateur standout from Fairfield, Calif., won by unanimous scores of 79-73.

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