Mayweather/MaidanaBryan Steffy/Getty ImagesFloyd Mayweather Jr. and Marcos Maidana will embark on a five-city tour to promote their rematch.
LAS VEGAS -- Two of the three fights Floyd Mayweather Jr. has had on his six-fight Showtime/CBS contract -- Robert Guerrero and Marcos Maidana -- failed to reach the benchmark 1-million buy mark, the figure Mayweather has said is a big deal.

But both of those bouts were organized with little room to spare and resulted in poor promotions that got off to a slow start without a media tour.

The one fight that surged past 2 million buys and set the all-time pay-per-view revenue record was his showdown with Canelo Alvarez. That fight included a 10-city tour. I strongly believe the excitement created by the tour across the country gave the promotion a massive jolt and was a big factor in helping it set multiple records, even though it was a hot fight from the moment it was announced.

Mayweather announced Thursday that he will fight Maidana again on Sept. 13 at the MGM Grand, but this time there will be a five-city tour -- something the fight really needs if Mayweather has a prayer to bolster his sagging pay-per-view numbers. I think it can only help stoke interest in the rematch of what was an excellent fight in May, albeit a close but clear win for Mayweather, who unified welterweight titles.

The tour stops are all open and free to the public (first come, first served). Here's a rundown on the particulars if you are interested in checking out any of the stops. If you've never been, these tour stops are a lot of fun.

• Monday, noon ET: New York at the pedestrian walk in Times Square between 42nd and 43rd Streets.

• Monday, 6:30 p.m. ET: Washington, D.C. at DAR Constitution Hall. A performance by rapper and D.C. native Wale will follow the press conference.

• Tuesday, 11 a.m. CT: Chicago at the Auditorium Theatre.

• Tuesday, 6 p.m. CT: San Antonio at Six Flags Fiesta Texas’ Lone Star Lil's Amphitheater.

• Thursday, noon ET: Los Angeles at Pershing Square.
The contracts are filed with the Nevada State Athletic Commission so here's the rundown of the purses for the "Honor & Glory" card on Saturday night (Showtime PPV, 9 ET) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas:

• In the main event, fought at a catchweight of 155 pounds, Canelo Alvarez will receive a $1.5 million purse but likely will make more based on pay-per-view sales and Mexican television revenue. His promotional company, Canelo Promotions, is also likely getting a nice chunk of change. Erislandy Lara will make a career-high $1 million for his first pay-per-view main event.

• In the featherweight co-feature, former titlist Abner Mares will make $400,000 for his first fight in the 11 months since he lost his title by first-round knockout and opponent Jonathan Oquendo will receive $50,000.

• Former two-division titlist Juan Manuel Lopez will make $125,000 for his junior lightweight bout with Francisco Vargas, who is getting $75,000.

• Interim junior welterweight titlist Johan Perez is making $100,000 while challenger Mauricio Herrera will receive $125,000.

• In a bantamweight title bout on the card but being televised on Showtime before the pay-per-view begins, Tomoki Kameda is making $60,000 for his title defense against Pungluang Sor Singyu, who gets $40,000.
Juan Manuel LopezGabriel Gonzalez/Hoganphotos/Golden BoyFormer two-division titlist Juan Manuel Lopez faces unbeaten Francisco Vargas on Saturday night.
If many had left Juan Manuel Lopez's career for dead after he suffered two knockout losses to Orlando Salido in featherweight world title fights during a three-fight stretch in 2011 and 2012, then pretty much everyone else kicked dirt on it when Mikey Garcia destroyed him in a fourth-round knockout in another title fight 13 months ago.

But Lopez, a southpaw with outstanding power, resurrected his career by knocking out former titleholder Daniel Ponce De Leon in the second round of their rematch at junior lightweight on March 15.

Puerto Rico's Lopez, who has won world titles at junior featherweight and featherweight, is looking to put another strong victory in the bank to push himself toward a title shot in a third weight class when he faces Francisco Vargas of Mexico in a scheduled 10-round junior lightweight bout on the Canelo Alvarez-Erislandy Lara undercard Saturday night (Showtime PPV, 9 ET) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

"I felt very good. I felt very happy," Lopez said through a translator about the win over Ponce De Leon. "Unfortunately, you're only as good as your last fight, and I was coming off a loss to Mikey Garcia, so a lot of people didn't give me the opportunity. But I didn't listen to them. I didn't listen to any of them.

"I only listened to my team. And we knew what we had to do and, obviously, we came out with a spectacular victory. And that's what we look forward to doing this coming fight too."

Said Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya (whose brother, Joel, manages Vargas): "In his last fight, Juanma Lopez showed everybody what it means to be a warrior, what it means to be a true fighter, because he fought with his heart and he showed everybody what he's made of."

On paper, Lopez-Vargas looks like a 50-50 fight and just might be the most action-packed bout on the pay-per-view. A win would boost the winner's title prospects considerably.

It's the prospect of winning a world title in a third weight class that drives the 31-year-old Lopez (34-3, 31 KOs).

"I'm very motivated to put on a great performance, a great fight, and obviously looking forward to winning the world title again, to being a three-time champion," Lopez said. "Winning this fight will put me there, so that's where the focus is.

"My goal is to become world champion again. I'm very proud of what Miguel [Cotto] has done [by winning the middleweight title on June 7]. He gave Puerto Rico a title. And I'm looking forward to doing the same. But for me to do that I have to beat Francisco Vargas, and that's where my goal is right now, that's where my focus is, on Francisco Vargas and to beating him."

Vargas (19-0-1, 13 KOs), 29, who was a 2008 Mexican Olympian, has scored two notable victories in a row, both 10-round decisions against Jerry Belmontes in December and Abner Cotto in March.

He's also looking for a victory Saturday to propel him into a possible world title bout.

"I'm very motivated. I know he has tremendous experience and I know that he's a great fighter," Vargas said through a translator. "But that's what we're working on. We're working with the sparring partners, working very hard, because I know a victory here will get me ready for the world title, and that's what we want."
Middleweight contender Matthew Macklin, an Irishman who lives in England, has not fought in Ireland since he outpointed Rafael Sosa Pintos at National Stadium in Dublin in December 2009. Now the time is right for the three-time world title challenger to return.

Macklin will headline a card there on Aug. 30 in his first fight since agreeing to a co-promotional deal with Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn.

Hearn, who will co-promote Macklin with Lou DiBella, Macklin’s longtime promoter, made the announcement on Wednesday.

Macklin (30-5, 20 KOs), 32, doesn’t have an opponent yet. He is coming off a strong performance in a unanimous decision win against then-unbeaten Lamar Russ in December. Macklin’s next fight was supposed to be against former titleholder Daniel Geale on HBO on May 24, but when the Bryant Jennings-Mike Perez heavyweight main event was postponed, Macklin’s fight was called off because Geale got a better opportunity (a title fight with Gennady Golovkin on July 27).

That understandably upset Macklin, who instead has a chance to go back to the United Kingdom.

“It’s been four years since I last boxed in the U.K. and five since I boxed in Ireland, so I am really looking forward to boxing this side of the Atlantic again,” Macklin said. “The National Stadium has always been a great traditional venue for Irish boxing, and I think the atmosphere on August 30 will be electric.”

Hearn said he has been looking to promote in Dublin but needed the right fighter to appear in the main event. He believes he has the guy in Macklin, who lost a controversial decision in a title fight to Felix Sturm in 2011 but suffered knockout losses in title bouts against Sergio Martinez (2012) and Golovkin (2013).

“Matthew is a proven world-level fighter on the verge of another world title shot, and I am delighted to also be working with our American partner Lou DiBella on making that happen,” Hearn said. “Fans in Dublin can expect a corker of a card with Olympic super heavyweight king [Anthony] Joshua fighting in the city for the first time as a pro and an all-Irish grudge match between [middleweights] Spike O’Sullivan and Anthony Fitzgerald.”

DiBella said he will take the lead on Macklin's fights in the United States, while Hearn will handle the promotions for Macklin in Europe.

“I’ve always had a good relationship with Eddie,” DiBella said. “This was a deal that made sense for everybody.”
Abner MaresGene Blevins/Hoganphotos/Golden Boy PromotionsAbner Mares should be rooting for peace between Golden Boy and Top Rank.

If there is one fighter in the Golden Boy Promotions stable who might benefit the most from the newfound peace between Golden Boy’s Oscar De La Hoya and Top Rank’s Bob Arum, it is clearly former three-division titleholder Abner Mares.

De La Hoya and Arum recently put aside years of animosity and pledged to work together on fights, at least where they make sense. That is music to Mares’ ears, since he has few marquee featherweights available to him in the Golden Boy stable while Top Rank has several of whom would make for interesting and marketable fights.

First, Mares (26-1-1, 14 KOs) needs to bounce back with a win against Jonathan Oquendo (24-3, 16 KOs) in their scheduled 10-round bout, in the co-feature of the Canelo Alvarez-Erislandy Lara junior middleweight fight on Saturday night (Showtime PPV, 9 p.m. ET) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

This will be Mares' first time fighting in the 11 months since he lost his featherweight belt by first-round knockout to Jhonny Gonzalez. But if Mares comes through, there could be potential fights against a quartet of Top Rank featherweight titleholders: Nonito Donaire (a fight that was one of boxing’s most anticipated bouts, but it didn’t happen because of the bad blood between companies), Vasyl Lomachenko, Evgeny Gradovich and Nicholas Walters.

“Obviously, you've heard the news, my promoter, Golden Boy Promotions, is looking to work with Top Rank on fights in the future and, look, they have great fighters, great champions,” Mares said. “I feel very comfortable at 126 [pounds] right now. That's what I have in front of me right now, and I have an opponent [Oquendo] that I'm concentrating on him.”

Mares would like to fight for a world title in a fourth weight class at some point, but he said he plans to stay at featherweight for the time being. Ideally, it would mean facing at least one of those Top Rank titleholders.

“I want to go in for the fourth division [title], but sometimes when you think with the heart only, it can run into mistakes and it could cost you,” he said. “It could have cost me a loss right there. So, right now, I'm making the weight very comfortable. I'm very happy at 126 and we're going to continue here.”

Matchroom's early fall schedule

July, 9, 2014
Jul 9
Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, who has an exclusive deal to provide the fights seen on subscription sports network Sky Sports in the United Kingdom, unveiled the early part of his fall Sky schedule on Wednesday and it’s ambitious.

Here’s a look at the schedule so far:

" Aug. 30: Newly signed middleweight contender Matthew Macklin and heavyweight prospect Anthony Joshua, the 2012 British Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist, will appear in separate fights atop a card in Dublin, Ireland.

" Sept. 13: Junior featherweight titleholder Scott Quigg will make his fourth defense against an opponent to be determined in Manchester, England. Lightweight Anthony Crolla will also be in action in the show.

" Sept. 27: Super middleweight Paul Smith, who is with Matchroom, is headed to Germany to challenge titleholder Arthur Abraham on a Sauerland Event card.

" Oct. 4: British and Commonwealth featherweight champion Josh Warrington will headline a card in his hometown of Leeds, England. Also on the card, Jamie McDonnell will defend his bantamweight world title.

" Oct. 11: A card at the O2 Arena in London will include super middleweight contender James DeGale, lightweight contender Kevin Mitchell and another appearance by Joshua as well as a featherweight title elimination fight between Lee Selby and Joel Brunker. The winner becomes the mandatory challenger for the titleholder Evgeny Gradovich.

" Oct. 25: Lightweights Luke Campbell, a 2012 British Olympic gold medalist, and Tommy Coyle will fight in separate bouts in their hometown of Hull, England.
Pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the unified junior middleweight champion, but he is also the unified welterweight champion -- thanks to the sanctioning organizations breaking their own rules and allowing him to hold two belts in each weight class.

When Mayweather returns in September, he is planning to fight at welterweight for the second bout in a row.

That leaves Canelo Alvarez and Erislandy Lara as the two top junior middleweights in the world, especially considering that in Miguel Cotto’s last fight he stopped Sergio Martinez to win the middleweight world championship.

So when former unified titleholder Alvarez and reigning titlist Lara meet on Saturday night (Showtime PPV, 9 ET) in the main event of Golden Boy Promotions’ “Honor & Glory” card at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, it will be for bragging rights as the best junior middleweight in the world.

However, the scheduled 12-round fight is being contested at a maximum weight of 155 pounds, one over the division limit. Therefore, Lara’s world title will not be at stake.

It wasn’t Lara’s call. He wanted to defend his belt for the first time. It was Alvarez (43-1-1, 31 KOs) who declined to fight for the title and since he is the star of the show, Lara (19-1-2, 12 KOs) had no choice but to agree or risk losing the most significant fight of his career.

It seems odd given how much fighters love belts, but Alvarez said he doesn’t care about the title.

“Titles are always nice, but for me this fight is bigger than a title fight,” Alvarez said through a translator. “This fight is for my honor and glory to bring to the Mexican people. It is a fight for honor and it is a fight that people wanted to see.”

Lara won a vacant interim belt by stopping Alfredo Angulo in the 10th round 13 months ago and then defended by easy decision win against Austin Trout in December. But not long after that fight, Lara was elevated to a full titleholder.

He is not happy about his title not being on the line against Alvarez, and he has a theory as to why.

"Canelo can't make the weight so he refused to fight for the title,” Lara said through a translator. “It's very disrespectful and my motivation to beat him has increased because of it."

Indeed, Alvarez had to change the contract weight of his March fight against Angulo from 154 to 155 at the last minute, so maybe Lara is on to something.

Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya dismissed that notion, as did Alvarez.

“This fight is not about a title. This fight is about honor and glory,” De La Hoya said.

Added Alvarez, “I feel very comfortable at 154, and I'll be here for the next few years, if not the rest of my career. I don't know yet. It's when my body tells me otherwise that it's time to move then we'll do it. But I'm very comfortable right now at 154.”

And also, apparently, quite comfortable not fighting for a title.

Alvarez aims for big dates

July, 8, 2014
Jul 8
Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, the former unified junior middleweight titleholder, is Mexico’s biggest active boxing star. He draws significant attention, makes entertaining fights, and sells tickets and pay-per-views.

The two most important fight weekends for a Mexican boxing star are Cinco de Mayo in early May and Mexican Independence Day in mid-September.

Alvarez is anxious to claim them as his own pay-per-view dates. But recently he has been blocked by pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr., who has been fighting on those prime dates.

It happened in 2013 when Mayweather fought Robert Guerrero in May, and it has happened again this year. Mayweather faced Argentina’s Marcos Maidana on May 3 and is scheduled to fight again on Sept. 13, probably a rematch with Maidana.

Other than when Mayweather faced Alvarez in September 2013 -- in the highest-grossing fight in boxing history and second-best-selling pay-per-view ever -- Alvarez has had to play second fiddle and fight elsewhere on the calendar for the past two years.

Alvarez wound up facing Austin Trout in a junior middleweight unification fight in April 2013 rather than in May because of Mayweather. And Alvarez didn’t fight in May this year and won't be fighting in September.

Instead, Alvarez (43-1-1, 31 KOs) fought Alfredo Angulo in March and will return to face 154-pound titlist Erislandy Lara (19-1-2, 12 KOs) in a nontitle bout on Saturday night (Showtime PPV, 9 ET) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Alvarez’s fall fight probably won’t come until November or December.

Alvarez said he is tired of ceding the important Mexican dates to Mayweather, who is not even fighting Mexican opponents.

“I want to retake those dates and bring them back,” Alvarez said. “Those dates are Mexican dates. They're Mexican independence dates, and yes, for next year I will be fighting, I want to be fighting on those dates.”

Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya, Alvarez’s promoter, said he plans to secure those dates for his company’s most important fighter.

“Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez has given me strict orders,” De La Hoya said. “Obviously, he wants to follow in the footsteps of the great champions hailing from Mexico like Julio Cesar Chavez, fighters that have started the tradition of fighting [on] Cinco de Mayo, started the tradition of fighting in September. Canelo now being a star of his own and a big draw and a person who the fans adore, me -- as his promoter -- it is my obligation to do what's best for the fighter.

“So we're obviously focusing 100 percent on Erislandy Lara, and then we will be sitting down with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and plan out his future.”
Puerto Rican flyweight contender McWilliams Arroyo is probably headed to Thailand for his shot at a world title against Amnat Ruenroeng.

Ruenroeng promoter Jimmy’s Boxing won an IBF purse bid for $202,000 to gain control of the bout on Tuesday. The only other bidder, Golden Boy Promotions, offered $70,150.

As titleholder, Thailand’s Ruenroeng is entitled to 75 percent of the winning bid ($151,500) while Arroyo is due the remaining 25 percent ($50,500). Jimmy’s Boxing has 90 days to put the fight on.

Ruenroeng (13-0, 5 KOs), 34, will be making his second title defense following an impressive first defense, a split decision victory against Japanese star and two-division titlist Kazuto Ioka on May 7 in Japan.

On June 19, Arroyo (15-1, 13 KOs), 28, a 2008 Olympian and 2009 world amateur champion, drilled Froilan Saludar in a second-round knockout victory in the title eliminator that earned him the mandatory shot at Ruenroeng.
Shawn PorterElsa/Golden Boy/Golden Boy/Getty ImagesWelterweight titlist Shawn Porter returns Aug. 16. to face mandatory challenger Kell Brook.

The StubHub Center in Carson, California, which has become one of boxing’s great venues, will host a world title tripleheader on Aug. 16. Although Showtime will televise the event, neither the network nor the promoter, Golden Boy, has made an official announcement of the card yet.

But here is what is on tap:

" Welterweight titlist Shawn Porter (24-0-1, 15 KOs) will face mandatory challenger Kell Brook (32-0, 22 KOs) in the main event. It’s a fight that has been moved all over the summer calendar but is now locked in. The IBF, which is sanctioning the fight, has confirmed the date and venue.

The fight will be Porter’s second title defense. He knocked out former titleholder Paulie Malignaggi in the fourth round on April 19. Brook has been a mandatory contender for some time and was supposed to challenge then-titlist Devon Alexander, but the fight was called off multiple times due to injuries to both fighters. Brook is coming off an eight-round knockout of Alvaro Robles on March 15.

" Lightweight titlist Omar Figueroa (23-0-1, 17 KOs) will make his mandatory defense against Daniel Estrada (32-2-1, 24 KOs) in the co-feature. The sides made a deal for the fight last month and avoided a purse bid, and Golden Boy had been looking for a spot to put it. Figueroa will be making his second title defense after winning a split decision against Jerry Belmontes on April 26. Estrada has not lost since 2010 and is riding a nine-fight winning streak.

" Super middleweight titlist Sakio Bika (32-5-3, 21 KOs) will make his second title defense when he meets Anthony Dirrell (26-0-1, 22 KOs) in a rematch in the opener. They first met in December 2013 and fought to a split draw in a tremendous action fight. Neither man has fought since.

Bika’s camp has announced the fight. He said he was inspired to accept the rematch with Dirrell after attending fellow titleholder Carl Froch’s rematch with George Groves at Wembley Stadium in London on May 31.

“I was impressed by the way Froch handled his unfinished business with George Groves and now I want to do the same with Dirrell,” Bika said. “I felt I won the first fight with Dirrell, and I'm happy my management team has been able to organize a rematch. Dirrell was very lucky to get the draw. I was the busier fighter, throwing and landing the most punches and I dropped him with a body shot which was counted as a low blow. I will be in the best shape of my professional career in August and will show boxing fans around the world that ‘The Dog’ is all bark and no bite. And then I am going after Froch.”
Former unified junior welterweight titlist Amir Khan was arrested in his hometown of Bolton, England, on Friday, allegedly for assault on two teenagers, and released shortly thereafter on bail before the case was dropped.

“This was a minor incident involving a misunderstanding between Amir Khan and two other youths,” Khan’s publicist Amir Rashid said in a statement. “On Monday, Amir was notified by the police that the allegations against him had been withdrawn and the matter would not be pursued any further.”

According to various news reports in the British media, Khan, 27, mixed it up with two 19-year-olds in a street incident in the early hours of Friday as the teens were returning home from their mosque.

Both of the teens suffered minor injuries after Khan supposedly drove up to a group of people, had words with the young men and got out of his car, precipitating the incident.

Khan (29-3, 19 KOs) ended a 13-month layoff on May 3 by making his welterweight debut and outpointing former titleholder Luis Collazo on the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Marcos Maidana undercard, hoping an impressive performance might set him up for a future fight with Mayweather.

Gomez steps in to face Paris

July, 7, 2014
Jul 7
Welterweight prospect Frankie Gomez, a major disappointment thus far despite his unbeaten record, will step up to fight his most notable opponent when he faces Vernon Paris on July 25 (Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes) at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California, Golden Boy has announced.

[+] EnlargeVernon Paris, Zab Judah
Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY SportsVernon Paris, right, who suffered his lone defeat in 2012 against Zab Judah, faces unbeaten welterweight Frankie Gomez on July 25.
Gomez (17-0, 13 KOs), 22, of East Los Angeles, was a terrific amateur and entered the pro ranks with huge fanfare in 2010 but a series of underwhelming performances, conditioning issues and legal problems limited him to just two fights apiece in 2012 and 2013.

Golden Boy, which has hundreds of thousands of dollars invested in Gomez, is throwing him in what should be a real fight when he faces Paris in a scheduled 10-rounder that will headline the Golden Boy Live card.

Paris (28-1, 16 KOs), 26, of Detroit, suffered his only defeat when he was stopped by former junior welterweight titlist Zab Judah in the ninth round in March 2012. Paris has won his two fights since.

In the co-feature, bantamweight prospect Ivan Morales (25-0, 14 KOs) will see action in a 10-rounder against an opponent to be determined. Morales is the 22-year-old younger brother of Mexican legend Erik Morales, who will be ringside and will do a meet-and-greet with fans at the show.
Before the start of the Canelo Alvarez-Erislandy four-fight Showtime PPV card on July 12 (9 p.m. ET), Showtime announced that it will air bantamweight titleholder Tomoki Kameda’s defense against former titleholder Pungluang Sor Singyo from the undercard during its “Canelo-Lara: Countdown Live” (7:30 p.m. ET).

Japan’s Kameda (29-0, 18 KOs), who turns 23 on the day of the fight, will be making his second title defense, a mandatory against Sor Singyo (46-2, 31 KOs), 26, of Thailand. They will both be fighting in the United States for the first time.

Sor Singyo will be fighting for his old belt. He stopped A.J. Banal in the ninth round to win the 118-pound title in October 2012 in the Philippines and lost it in his first defense by unanimous decision to Paulus Ambunda in March 2013 in Namibia. Ambunda lost the belt in his first defense to Kameda by unanimous decision in August 2013 in the Philippines.

Kameda is one of the fighting Kameda brothers who have all won world titles, including Koki (bantamweight) and Daiki (junior bantamweight). At one point, they all held world titles simultaneously, the first time in boxing history three brothers had done that.
The plan is clear for former light heavyweight titlist Nathan Cleverly and former two-time title challenger Tony Bellew: If they both win fights on the same card next week they are headed for a fall rematch.

Promoter Eddie Hearn is even billing the show on July 12 (Sky Sports in the United Kingdom) at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England as “Collision Course.”

The main event matches are England’s Bellew against Julio Cesar Dos Santos (26-2, 23 KOs) of Brazil and Wales’ Cleverly facing Alejandro Valori (15-4, 11 KOs) of Argentina in the co-feature. Both cruiserweight bouts are scheduled for 12 rounds.

In October 2011 at the Echo Arena, Cleverly retained his light heavyweight belt against Bellew by majority decision in a hard-fought, ultracompetitive fight. There has been talk of a rematch since then, although it has taken time for their paths to converge again.

Cleverly (27-1, 13 KOs) made three more title defenses before getting blitzed by Sergey Kovalev and losing his belt last August. Cleverly then moved up to cruiserweight and stopped Shawn Corbin in the second round in May.

Bellew (21-2-1, 13 KOs) got a second world title shot in November, but got crushed by Adonis Stevenson in a sixth-round knockout loss. Bellew also moved up to cruiserweight and knocked out Valery Brudov in the 12th round in March.

Now they are one step away from a rematch, but Bellew said his main goal is not necessarily revenge against Cleverly. More important to him is moving into position to fight for a world title again.

“It's all about July 12, not about Nathan,” Bellew said. “I cannot think about anything other than Julio Santos. He's a very, very durable and hard-punching Brazilian. I know he is strong, he has never been stopped and he does a little of everything. Fans come to see me because I stop people, and this guy is a solid proven cruiserweight, so we'll see what I can do with him. I've already fought a former world cruiserweight title challenger in Valery Brudov. This is a similar fight.

“Brudov is a tried and tested cruiserweight on my debut at the weight and Cleverly fought a light heavyweight on his. Shawn Corbin had been smashed in two rounds by Karo Murat. He's not a cruiserweight. Fighters know that there are some fights we call 'gimmes.' You don't get many of them. I've only had a couple in my career. Atoli Moore for the Commonwealth title was the biggest gimme I've ever had, and I hope every morning when I wake up that I am facing Atoli again. I got in the ring that night and thought this isn't happening, he cannot throw punches that slow and expect to not get KO'd. You don't get many of them in your career and that night I got one, and Nathan got one in his last fight.”

Bellew said he is comfortable at cruiserweight and aiming for a knockout victory.

“I’ve settled into the weight perfectly and you’ll see a destructive performance on July 12,” he said. “I want to close the season in style and push towards another world title shot. All I have ever been interested in is fighting the best in the business for the big belts and if I have to beat Nathan to get to the top, then that will be the icing on the cake.”
Last month, there was a rare Top Rank versus Golden Boy fight when Vasyl Lomachenko (TR) routed Gary Russell Jr. (GBP) to win a vacant featherweight world title. It was a fight that happened because of a purse bid, not a negotiation between the companies.

Although Top Rank’s Bob Arum and Golden Boy’s Oscar De La Hoya have put their feud to rest -- so they say -- they still have yet to negotiate a fight with one another.

Perhaps it will happen soon for a middleweight world title bout. And if it doesn’t, they’ll be headed for another purse bid.

That’s because on Tuesday, the WBO ordered titleholder “Kid Chocolate” Peter Quillin, who is with adviser Al Haymon but not under contract to Golden Boy -- even though it has served as his promoter for years -- to make a mandatory defense against the Top Rank-promoted Matt Korobov.

In the WBO’s letter to Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti and Golden Boy vice president Eric Gomez, it gave the sides 30 days to negotiate an agreement for the fight. If no deal is reached -- and don’t hold your breath that one will be – a purse bid will be ordered.

The minimum bid is $200,000. At any time during the 30-day free negotiation period, either side can let the organization know that it is declining to negotiate and ask for an immediate purse bid.

Quillin (31-0, 22 KOs), 31, of New York, has defended his 160-pound belt three times, most recently by near-shutout decision against Lukas Konecny in Washington, D.C., on April 19.

Korobov (24-0, 14 KOs), the 31-year-old Russian southpaw and 2008 Olympian, scored a pair of seventh-round knockdowns against Jose Uzcategui en route to a 10-round decision victory on Saturday night on the Terence Crawford-Yuriorkis Gamboa undercard in Omaha, Nebraska.