Sebastian Fundora lets it slide. It’s part of the 25-year-old southpaw’s easygoing nature. But the reality is Fundora, all 6-foot-5½, 154 pounds of him, is dangerous for anyone at 154 pounds. Fundora won’t publicly come out and say undisputed super welterweight champion Jermell Charlo, or Brian Castano, or Tim Tszyu want no part of him. “The Towering Inferno” is too polite for that.
For now, Fundora will keep doing what he does best—fight.
On Saturday night, Fundora, The Ring’s No. 3 junior middleweight, will take on 29-year-old Brian Mendoza on a PBC event on Showtime Championship Boxing in a 12-round junior middleweight bout from the Dignity Health Sports Park, in Carson, California (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT).
Fundora (20-0-1, 13 knockouts) is ready for the challenge.
“I feel like I’ve been proving myself over and over again,” Fundora said. “We’re waiting for our shot to fight for the title. They keep putting guys in front of me who they say will knock me out or expose me, but I keep proving them wrong. I think the way we’re going is pretty good. I guess people need to tune in a little more. We need to put on more exciting fights. Put us in with people that are going to make exciting fights. Lubin was a top contender. That made for a great fight. We have all of these other names in the division, like Castano, or Charlo, to make these great fights. I just need a good dancing partner.
“We’ll see what the future holds for us, because they’re going to have to fight us, or step out of the way. That’s my attitude: they are going to have to fight us. The goal is to keep winning.”
Mendoza (21-2, 15 KOs) is standing in his way Saturday night. He got here by stopping former IBF and WBA junior middleweight titlist Jeison Rosario in five rounds last November.
“In comparison to the other guys, I started boxing late (at 15),” Mendoza said. “I’m 29 now. I’ve been around. I think I’ve reached the point where I’ve seen the best and faced the some of the best where I can finally say that I have experience. I’m constantly in the ring fighting and sparring world-class guys. Facing that kind of opposition, your confidence builds, you feel the experience coming. My work ethic was always there. I feel my strongest. I feel like I can’t be beat.”
Fundora fought twice in 2022, stopping Erickson Lubin last April in nine, which was a 2022 Fight of the Year candidate. He was knocked down in the seventh round, the first time he ever touched the canvas in his career. He finished the year with an easy unanimous decision over Carlos Ocampo in October.
“Mendoza looked pretty strong against Rosario, but we’re ready for anything he brings,” Fundora said. “I didn’t watch the fight. I watched the highlights of him dropping Rosario twice. Everything is good. I’ve been walking around these last few weeks at around 158, 159 pounds. My father and my coach (Freddy Fundora Sr.) helps me maintain my patience. If I ever do feel like I’m going crazy about weight, or losing my patience, my father is always there to remind me that we’re in a good place and everything happens for a reason. Our time will come. It’s as simple as that. I want to continue fighting and giving the fans what they want, and if we can, hopefully, we can get a title fight.”
What is unique about Fundora is that he lives and breathes boxing.
“We’ll see what the future holds for us, because they’re going to have to fight us, or step out of the way,” he said. “That’s my attitude: they are going to have to fight us. The goal is to keep winning. I’m trying to fight as many times as possible (in 2023). I’m always ready to go. There are superstars who don’t care for the sport. They look at this more as a job. Once you start thinking of this as a job, you might as well not even do it anymore. That’s my take on this because if you get hurt for something that’s just a job, it’s not worth it.”
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.