- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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The heavyweight title elimination bout between Cristobal Arreola and Bermane Stiverne is on the move again.
A network source told me the fight is now headed from March 2 to March 9 to be part of a split-site HBO telecast that will be headlined by the Tavoris Cloud-Bernard Hopkins light heavyweight title fight already scheduled for the date.
Cloud-Hopkins, a fight Golden Boy and Don King are putting on, will take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., while Arreola-Stiverne, a fight promoter Dan Goossen is promoting, will take place at a Southern California site to be announced.
HBO and Goossen have been working it out over the past couple of weeks since a shoulder injury to super middleweight champ Andre Ward forced the cancellation of his March 2 fight with Kelly Pavlik.
Ward-Pavlik was originally supposed to take place Jan. 26 with Arreola-Stiverne as the co-feature. When Ward-Pavlik was postponed to March 2, Arreola-Stiverne was moved with it. When Ward-Pavlik was canceled because Ward's injury was more serious than originally diagnosed, the heavyweight fight was going to stay on March 2 and move up to the main event of a smaller card.
Instead, HBO has significantly beefed up its March 9 telecast with the addition of the heavyweight fight.
Welterweight prospect Keith Thurman (19-0, 18 KOs), 24, is also supposed to fight on HBO -- for his third consecutive bout -- on March 9 at the Barclays Center. The leading candidate to face him is 36-year-old former titleholder Jan Zaveck (32-2, 18 KOs), who lost his belt by spirited fifth-round knockout to Andre Berto on HBO in September 2011. Zaveck has fought only once since after being sidelined for most of 2012 with an elbow injury.
The way the telecast could shake out would be for Thurman's fight to open the broadcast followed by a shift to the West Coast for the Arreola-Stiverne bout and then a return to Brooklyn for the Cloud-Hopkins main event.
The winner between Arreola (35-2, 30 KOs) and Stiverne (22-1-1, 20 KOs) will become the mandatory challenger for heavyweight titleholder Vitali Klitschko.