- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Promoter Main Events thought it was close to making a deal for the middleweight title eliminator between New York’s Curtis Stevens (27-4, 20 KOs) and former titlist Hassan N’Dam (30-1, 18 KOs) of France. Its intention was to have the fight headline a Sept. 20 “Fight Night” card on NBC Sports Network at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut.
But, lo and behold, the sides couldn’t make a deal. The fight was put up for auction at an IBF purse bid on Monday with N’Dam promoter Michael King of King Sports World surprisingly outbidding Main Events, $80,000 to $62,000.
It was surprising because Main Events has money to pay for the fight from its television deal, and because King has to give up 60 percent of the money to Stevens with N’Dam due 40 percent.
There were no other bidders. King has 90 days to put on the fight. The winner of the fight -- which has good potential to be action-packed -- will become the mandatory challenger for newly-crowned titleholder Sam Soliman of Australia.
N’Dam has won three fights in a row since losing a decision in a world title fight to Peter Quillin in 2012. Stevens has won two fights in a row since being stopped in the eighth round challenging titleholder Gennady Golovkin in November.
Main Events is looking for a new main event to top its Sept. 20 card.