BoxingAfrica.com spoke to former world champion Argenis Mendez and trainer Lee Beard. Both had some choice words for IBO World lightweight champion Emmanuel “Game Boy” Tagoe after he postponed their bout yet again.
Tagoe-Mendez was initially slated to occur on August 26. Team Tagoe moved that date to Sep. 2nd for reasons still largely unknown to the public. A Tagoe injury is said to be the cause for this latest delay that could push the match toward late September/early October. Team Mendez is unconvinced.
“He’s scared,” Mendez told BoxingAfrica.com. “He does a lot of talking when the fight date is far away but whenever the fight gets close he gets all quiet and postpones it.”
“I think it’s bullsh*t,” Beard flatly declared. “It’s bullsh*t and that’s the truth. It’s been pushed back once and now again. We’re hoping that he does the right thing and gets in the ring, but I think it’s bullsh*t and that [Tagoe] knows he’s finally stepping in the ring against a real fighter. Even folks in Ghana are saying that it’s a very difficult fight for Tagoe to win and that probably trickles to him to the gym. He knows he ain’t going to win this fight. I hope the fight does come off but…we’ll see.”
Beard was Mendez’s trainer during his championship run and has also worked with former champions Ricky Hatton and Joan Guzman, as well as former world title challenger Vusi Malinga and Matthew Hatton, among others. The respected coach is based in England while Mendez resides in New York. Mendez began camp in Ohio but moved to England five weeks ago to reconnect with Beard for the first time in two years.
“Tagoe has a nice jab, good movement and shoulder roll,” Beard notes. “He does all of these nice things against fighters who are way past their prime or nowhere near the world class level of a Mendez. At the end of the day, he’s alright doing these things against those kind of fighters but Mendez is a completely different animal.”
“The things that he does well are going to be so ineffective against Mendez,” he continued. “He’s going to realize that in the first round. Maybe they’ve already realized that and that’s why they keep postponing the fight. I’m very confident that Mendez is going to absolutely destroy him. I just hope that the fight gets rescheduled and it’s not because they realize that this is something that’s beyond them.”
“You have to step up at some point to prove yourself at some point,” Mendez said. “So this is an opportunity for Tagoe. And it’s an opportunity for me because I want that belt and I want to move up the WBA rankings [Note: Mendez is currently ranked fifth at lightweight]. Tagoe is step one. I want [WBA champion] Jorge Linares. That is the fight I really want. I’m going to knock out Tagoe and put Linares on notice. I believe I’m getting him next so I want Tagoe to stop ducking me so I can knock him out and get him out of the way and face Linares. That is the real fight.”
“Mendez is hungry to become world champion again,” says Beard. “We want Linares, but first, let’s see how Tagoe reacts to someone not like Mzonke Fana, who might have been a good test six years ago but isn’t now.”
Beard says he knows exactly what’s going to happen.
“Mendez is going to stop Tagoe in four or five rounds. He’ll be in control by the end of the first round and Tagoe will know that he’s in there with a genuine, world class fighter. Within two or three rounds, Mendez will be dominating and then he’ll knock him out in the next couple of rounds. I don’t see anything Tagoe does that will be effective against Mendez and I think Tagoe and his team see that now and that’s why they keep postponing the fight. I hope I’m wrong with that and the fight is rescheduled. Mendez has been busting his ass in the gym and he deserves this fight.”