Universidad Autonoma in Guadalajara, Mexico was the site of a thrilling fight last evening that saw Juan Carlos Salgado survive a rocky final round to capture the vacant IBF super feather crown against Argenis Mendez.
Salgado went into the bout having won two straight after losing the WBA super feather title to Takashi Uchiyama in Japan last year but the Mexico City man was expected to have a tough night against New York based Dominican Mendez.
Earlier this year Mendez had won an IBF title eliminator with a sharp performance against a former owner of that title, Cassius Baloyi, in South Africa, and had been victorious in his last six appearances.
Once the bell rang, the fighters got right down to combat with Salgado bringing the pressure but Mendez surprisingly chose to stand and fight rather than to use his advantages of speed and skill and box.
The rounds were close and difficult to call and Mendez suffered a setback in the fifth when he lost a point for rabbit punching.
By the eighth frame, Mendez began to outbox Salgado but it wasn't until the 12th and final frame that a turning point occurred as Salgado was decked but managed to survive until the final bell.
When the scorecards were read, Salgado was declared the winner by surprisingly wide margins, 115-110, 114-112 and 114-112.
Salgado improves to 24-1-1 (16), while Mendez falls to 18-2 (9). Given the controversial unanimous decision, expect to see a rematch.
The undercard featured two Women's world title fights.
IBF light fly queen Jessica Chavez, 13-3-2 (3), won a wide points decision, 100-90 on all three cards, against big-punching Yesenia Martinez Castrejon, 9-8 (8), who was coming off a stoppage loss to Yesica Yolanda Bopp for the WBA and WBO belts.
It was the second successful defense by Chavez of Mexico City, who won the title via split decision over Irma Sanchez this past April.
IBF minimumweight ruler Katia Gutierrez, 15-3 (3), also retained her title for the second time, posting a 100-90, 100-90 and 98-92 verdict over southpaw Olga Julio, 9-11-1 (5), a former two-time world title challenger.