Brian Mendoza gives a lot of his inspirational comeback story that climaxed, so far, with a seventh-round knockout win over undefeated Sebastian Fundora on Showtime Championship Boxing, to former world champion Yordenis Ugas.
Tupac Shakur, the famous nineties rapper, once famously said, “I'm not saying I'm going change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world.” Seeing Ugas come back from early career adversity to defeat Manny Pacquiao on pay-per-view and become a world champion, was enough for Mendoza to know it was possible.
After Mendoza’s huge win, Yordenis Ugas took to his social media and posted a gym photo. Though it might look like a regular day in the gym, with Ugas showing off his buff physique, it was far from that. In the background was Brian Mendoza after his first day at Ismael Salas’ gym in Las Vegas, Nevada. What Ugas started some years ago, Mendoza is continuing as both have shown the heart of a true warrior. Mendoza reflected upon this image.
“I just remember that moment, you know,” reflecting Mendoza on the photo Ugas posted. “[It was like] I’m really in Vegas, I'm really chasing the dream and it was just a different feeling back then because just to know that I'm taking this risk, I'm leaving my comfort zone, my bubble where I could become a local hero and leave it at that. I had a bigger dream, so it was just, it was wild, knowing that my story continues. [It was] another chapter in my life, it was a crazy feeling.”
Mendoza didn’t meet Ugas in the gym though the first time the two encountered each other was when Mendoza was a fight fan attending a big boxing card on the east coast. Mendoza took the risk to meet Ugas, and now that is part of their story as they will forever be linked together to fight fans who know the history and history of Ismael Salas’ boxing gym.
“The [first] day that I actually met [Ugas] was at the [Deontay] Wilder vs. [Luis] Ortiz I in New York at the Barclays Center,” reflected fondly Mendoza. “It was I don't know, at least six months or so before I even went to Salas [boxing gym]. I [was at the event] as a fan. I just went up to [Ugas]. I said ‘hey man, I'm big fan, nice to meet you, and I'm trying to be training with you guys soon’. I don't even know if he remembers that moment. Then it ended up working out a few months later, I pull up to [Salas’ gym] and he actually gave me my first sparring session as like a way for Salas to [decide if he wanted to train me]. So I even told him thank you for the opportunity to get looked at and everything when I got there.”