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Tuesday, December 11, 2012
HBO working on Broner deal

By Dan Rafael

Adrien Broner
Lightweight champion Adrien Broner could challange Paulie Malignaggi in the 147-pound division.
Most of the televised bouts involving Golden Boy fighters are on Showtime these days, but the promotion is still working with HBO, albeit to a lesser extent.

But Adrien Broner, who has been appearing regularly on HBO, is staying on the network. Broner, who won a lightweight world title by knocking out Antonio DeMarco in the eighth round on Nov. 17, is due back on HBO on Feb. 16, Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com.

There is no opponent or venue yet, but Schaefer said he's been talking to British promoter Frank Warren about matching Broner with fellow titleholder Ricky Burns of Scotland. When Burns held a junior lightweight title, Broner was his mandatory challenger, but he moved up in weight and vacated -- some say to avoid Broner -- leaving Broner to win the vacated belt.

Burns is supposed to fight on Saturday in London, but his second opponent, Jose Ocampo, dropped out on Monday, leaving Warren to scramble for a replacement. Schaefer would like to see Burns just sit tight and wait until February.

"I am trying to do the Burns fight [with Broner,]" Schaefer said. "[I'll be] talking again [Tuesday] with Frank Warren. I am going to try and convince him to go directly to Broner for Feb. 16. But if Burns does not work out then maybe [interim titlist] Richard Abril" would be Broner's opponent.

Golden Boy and HBO are also far along in talks for a multi-fight contract for Broner to remain exclusively on the network. It would be for at least three fights, although, from what I am told, the Feb. 16 date is not predicated on the deal being finalized.

Also, when Broner fights Feb. 16, the undercard bout is likely to be a heavyweight rematch between Johnathon Banks and Seth Mitchell. On the Broner-DeMarco undercard last month, Banks pulled the upset by knocking out Mitchell in the second round. Mitchell had a rematch clause and has exercised his option to fight Banks again.

Schaefer and HBO are also in the talking stages about an April tripleheader. One of the bouts they are discussing is a featherweight match between former titlist Jhonny Gonzalez and 2011 ESPN.com prospect of the year Gary Russell Jr., who would be taking a huge step up in the level of his competition if the fight is finalized. Gonzalez lost his belt via eighth-round technical decision to Daniel Ponce De Leon on Sept. 15.

Another fight being talked about would pit welterweight slugger (and former junior welterweight titlist) Marcos Maidana against prospect Keith Thurman. They were supposed to fight on a Broner undercard in July, but Maidana and his team decided against it. Now the talks have been renewed. Thurman has won two fights in a row on HBO, but if he faces Maidana, he would be fighting the best opponent of his career.

That April card could also feature the return of former two-time welterweight titlist Andre Berto, who lost a unanimous decision in a terrific fight against Robert Guerrero on Nov. 24.