- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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The WBC on Thursday ordered a final eliminator between Vanes Martirosyan and Erislandy Lara, with the winner earning a mandatory shot at the 154-pound title held by Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, who is slated to first make a defense against a still-undetermined opponent on Sept. 15.
If the Martirosyan and Lara camps don't come to an agreement first, a purse bid will be held July 27 at the WBC headquarters in Mexico City.
There had been previous discussion between the camps about an eliminator, but Martirosyan (32-0, 20 KOs) ultimately didn't accept it because the WBC wouldn't put in writing that the winner would become Alvarez's mandatory challenger. Now that it has been done, Martirosyan is hopeful for the fight.
In a series of entries on his Twitter account, Martirosyan wrote this on Thursday: "Now [it's] time to focus on Saturday night, then we focus on this Lara fight. ... Guys, there is no ifs. I said yes to the Lara fight. Already 100 percent. I'm [on] board. I just wanna focus on Saturday night, then we get back to Lara."
Martirosyan is scheduled to face Ryan Davis (24-9-3, 9 KOs) in what should be a walkover on Saturday night at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., in the untelevised portion of the Nonito Donaire-Jeffrey Mathebula junior featherweight unification bout that headlines an HBO card.
Carl Moretti of Top Rank, Martirosyan's promoter, had just arrived in California for Saturday's show when he got word of the eliminator being reordered.
"I'm waiting to see Vanes on Friday so we can talk about it and see what he wants to do," Moretti said. "It came as a surprise to us."
Luis DeCubas Jr., who manages Lara (17-1-1, 11 KOs), said he would talk to Lara and adviser Al Haymon, whom the fighter just signed with, before making a decision about whether Lara would participate in the bout.
"We'll see what's the best thing to do for Lara's career, but he is willing to fight anybody," DeCubas said. "We have to see what Al advises. We brought him in as an adviser [last week] and now we'll see where we go."
It's a tough deal to make because Martirosyan is with Top Rank and Lara is promoted by Golden Boy. Embroiled in a feud that has been hurting boxing for years, the promoters don't do business together.
At least in this case, however, if the sides determine it's a fight they want to pursue, it can still happen even if they won't negotiate with each other. The fight would go to a purse bid, and whichever promoter -- Top Rank, Golden Boy or some other registered promoter -- offered the most money at the auction would win the right to promote the fight.
The WBC on Thursday ordered a final eliminator between Vanes Martirosyan and Erislandy Lara, with the winner earning a mandatory shot at the 154-pound title held by Saul "Canelo" Alvarez, who is slated to first make a defense against a still-undetermined opponent on Sept.