The IBF has made the only possible just decision and returned their super featherweight title to Argenis Mendez, overturning his KO-2 loss to Rances Barthelemy from this year's Friday Night Fights season opener on January 3.
Mendez (21-2-1, 11 KO) lost the belt on the knockout when he was hit well after the bell by Barthelemy (19-0, 12 KO). Referee Pete Podgorski counted Mendez out anyway, even though the punch was clearly a foul, intentional or not. Replays were conclusive and frankly unnecessary -- it was a clearly late punch.
ESPN analyst Teddy Atlas recently argued that it would be wrong to take the belt from Barthelemy because, like, it was a big moment for him to become a "world champion" for the first time. The argument was emotional more than logical, and despite the fact that Barthelemy was beating up on Mendez, rules are in place for a reason, and the only right thing to do here was indeed to rule the fight a no-contest.
Mendez's team says they will be happy to negotiate a rematch with Barthelemy, who does deserve that much, at least in my view. He was winning, and it's more unfortunate than anything that this had to happen this way, but the rematch has been earned.