Junior lightweight titlist Juan Carlos Salgado is determined to remove all remaining doubt from his first clash with Argenis Mendez -- a tight 2011 decision to win his belt -- when the fighters again meet in the ring Saturday in Costa Mesa, Calif.
"This time I am setting out to win convincingly, to achieve victory -- but in a convincing fashion," Salgado told ESPNDeportesLos Angeles.com.
Still, the 28-year-old Salgado (26-1-1, 16 KOs), who will be making the fourth defense of his title, doesn't mince words about the difficulty of that task.
"He is a very complete fighter, very tough, who can block quite a bit," Salgado said of Mendez (20-2, 10 KOs). "He's a rival who boxes well, who is skillful, with good footwork, quick hands. In truth, I don't see any weakness in him; on the contrary, he has many skills, but I'm very well prepared to win the fight.
"He has said that he will come out to pressure, and I hope he does, in order to offer a better fight with a good exchange of punches."
As for the first fight with Mendez -- when Salgado won a vacant 130-pound title by scores of 115-110, 114-112 and 114-112 -- the Mexico City native defended the official result.
"Yes, it was a very talked-about fight, because in the end, some are of the opinion that the decision could have gone either way -- although I feel that I won in a bout where I came out to set the pace from the first round. And, at least until the seventh round, he was only defending himself, without throwing punches," Salgado said.
"Afterwards, when he felt that I was getting tired, he began to loosen up, but I consider those late rounds even. What raised doubt was the final round, when I was already exhausted physically and I was falling down from tiredness -- not from his punches, like he believes, or because he connected with a very hard punch."
In an effort to nail down a more decisive outcome this time around, Salgado has taken a more methodical approach at Pancho Rosales Gym in Mexico City, including altitude training.
"We prepared better compared to the first fight, when I was coming off an injury, which is why we tried to postpone the bout," Salgado said. "We couldn't do it, because they warned me that either I had to accept it or the opportunity would be gone since it involved fighting for a vacant title. And I had to take the fight, relying more on courage than on good preparation."
That's why Salgado isn't taking anything for granted against Mendez, a former Olympian for the Dominican Republic. The importance of defending his title on Saturday may be matched only by Salgado's desire to wash away any residual skepticism.
"This time I come very well prepared," he said, "so that I won't go through that again."