Ryan Songalia

Farenas targets Mendez after Saturday night tuneup

Junior lightweight contender Michael Farenas says he has one eye on Saturday night’s fight with Mexican journeyman Gerardo Zayas, and the other staring down a possible title shot in the summer.

Farenas (34-4-4, 26 knockouts) of Gubat, Sorsogon, Philippines will face Zayas (19-21-2, 11 KOs) at the Erwin Center in Austin, Tex. in an eight-round bout underneath the Raymundo Beltran-Alejandro Rodriguez main event, which will be promoted by Top Rank and televised by UniMas (12 a.m. ET). This afternoon, Farenas weighed in at 132 pounds, while Zayas checked in at 132.5.

Farenas’ manager Gerry Penalosa tells RingTV that, should all things go according to plan on Saturday, Farenas may face IBF junior lightweight titleholder Argenis Mendez at the Venetian Casino & Resort on July 27 in Macau underneath the second professional fight of two-time Olympic gold medalist Zou Shiming.

“[Top Rank CEO Bob Arum] told me he’s gonna fight next with Argenis Mendez, so we must give a good show for tomorrow,” said Gerry Penalosa, who is a former two-time world champion himself.

Mendez (21-2, 11 KOs) of San Juan de la Maguana, Dominican Republic won the title in March by knocking out Juan Carlos Salgado in four rounds in a rematch of their controversial first fight in 2011, which Salgado won by decision. Farenas, 28, is coming off a thrilling bout with Yuriorkis Gamboa in December on the undercard of Manny Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez IV in which Farenas rose up from an early knockdown to drop Gamboa late in the fight before losing a decision.

When asked how he thinks Farenas matches up with Mendez, Penalosa responded: “That kind of style, I think that’s the style that Farenas wants. He doesn’t back up, he moves forward but he can punch, too. First we have to fight this guy tomorrow. He’s experienced and he wants to win.”

When reached for comment, Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti denied that Mendez-Farenas was in the works, while Mendez’s manager Jose Nunez said it was “just a rumor.”

For this fight, Farenas had trained for eight weeks in the Philippines with Carl Penalosa Jr., then finished up with three weeks at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles with Freddie Roach and Marvin Somodio. Farenas will have Somodio and Ernesto Zavala in his corner, with Miguel Diaz working as cutman.

When asked about his preparedness, Farenas replied, “I’m ready to rumble,” adding “Zayas has many losses, but also a lot of experience.”

“Farenas looks good, he’s ready and in shape,” said Gerry Penalosa. “The most important thing is he needs to pass this fight. He learned from that Gamboa fight. Even though he lost that fight, he learned from his mistakes. I think Michael will be better in the future, and I think he will give a good fight tomorrow.”



Ryan Songalia is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and contributes to The Ring magazine and GMA News. He can be reached at ryan@ryansongalia.com. An archive of his work can be found at www.ryansongalia.com. Follow him on Twitter: @RyanSongalia.

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