Paul Mendez Tops DonYil Livingston; Woodland Controversial Again

WOODLAND, Calif. — In a crossroads bout between two middleweights with common threads, Paul Mendez of Delano, Calif. was awarded a controversial 7th round TKO victory over DonYil Livingston after Mendez went well below the belt early in the round Saturday night at the Woodland Community & Senior Center in the eight-round main event of TeleFutura’s Solo Boxeo. Livingston was unable to answer the count and a novice professional referee called the fight over, amidst confusion ringside.

To say Mendez (10-2-1, 4 KOs) was on his way to a decision victory might have been correct, but perhaps a stretch to assume, as Livingston (8-2-1, 4 KOs) only trailed 58-56 on two cards and 59-55 on the other. Had he won the final two rounds he could have eked out a draw against Mendez, which wasn’t totally out of the question. Especially considering the way Livingston was starting to time him late in the fight.

Make no mistake, Mendez showed up readier to fight as he pressed the action and worked his jab diligently while doing the better work inside despite being the longer fighter. Livingston had a hard time getting off first and didn’t try controlling the inside, which is where he should have been doing his best work. Livingston caught Mendez with a couple of counters and seemed to sit on those rather than make his own opportunities, which didn’t help him on the scorecards.

The ending was a questionable enough one that Livingston’s team plan on contacting the California State Athletic Commission in the hopes of getting the verdict overturned. Though had Livingston been given five minutes to recover like the rules state, there was only a small chance he was going to reverse things. He just wasn’t letting his punches go. Still, despite his low chances of getting the win, Livingston deserved an opportunity in those last six minutes and was robbed of it.

This isn’t the first time a fight has ended in controversy in Woodland. This past May, a four-round bout between Denis Madriz and Luis Villagomez, two fighters both vying for their first win, ended on cuts from a headbutt that were ruled to be from a punch, resulting in a TKO in favor of Madriz. Thanks to the diligence of TQBR and Team Villagomez, that verdict was changed from a defeat to a no contest. Officials ringside would not go on the record but did state that if Livingston’s team follows up with the commission, the video evidence should be sufficient to overturn the result in this fight as well. TQBR will keep an eye on this one and keep you updated.

In the televised co-feature, junior featherweight Manuel Avila (10-0, 3 KOs) of Fairfield, Calif. went the eight round distance against veteran journeyman John Alberto Molina (32-20-3, 20 KOs), winning 79-73 on all three judges’ cards. Avila did solid work against his most experienced opponent to date, but again showed his lack of power as he was unable to get Molina out of there despite landing his fair share. Molina was game, tagging Avila with a counter power shot here and there but was just too small to really back Avila off of him. Avila was strongest in the early going as he is a bit of a frontrunner and things got closer down the stretch as Molina’s experience kept him in the fight.

Sacramento featherweight Guy Robb (9-1, 4 KOs) went in against the always durable Jonathan Alcantara (6-9-2, KO) of Novato, Calif., and the fight quickly devolved into a slugfest the way most Robb fights do. Robb was able to get off what seemed like infinitely more punches, landing wherever he could. Alcantara has proven to be a tough out in the past and just a month ago went up against San Ardo’s Roman Morales, who earned a big win on ShoBox last night. Alcantara did more or less what he is always brought in to do, make his opponent go rounds.

An overhand right early in the 3rd staggered Alcantara and the two follow-up shots put him on his butt. Alcantara responded by trading blow for blow with Robb, though his punches were sapped of power at that stage of the fight. Robb bit down and gutted out the surge of energy, responding with his own, more concise attack. After that, Robb did not miss in close with power shots, knocking Alcantara’s head back with some vicious uppercuts and short hooks as they fought in a phone booth. Despite the guts of Alcantara, Robb prevailed widely on all scorecards, which found him the winner unanimously.

San Francisco junior welterweight Jonathan Chicas (7-0, 3 KOs) notched his second straight win over the same opponent as he battled Jose Mendoza (7-7, 3 KOs), now of Oxnard, Calif., over five odd rounds en route to a wide decision victory. Mendoza found moments of success when Chicas got wild with his heavy punches, catching him coming in with long left hooks that stopped his assault. There would be moments where Chicas looked like he had his guy on the way out, but would then get careless in his attack and get tagged coming in. Chicas had Mendoza reeling late in the 6th as he staggered Mendoza with a couple of shots inside but was unable to down his opponent. Scores read 50-45 thrice in favor of Chicas.

Super middleweight champion Andre Ward as well as former champions Tony Lopez and Loreto Garza were in attendance. 

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.