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Friday, January 25, 2013
Lara ready; Ortiz, Cotto will wait

By Dan Rafael

Martirosyan-Lara
We could see Vanes Martirosyan and Erislandy Lara slugging it out in the ring one more time.
I caught up with Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer this week and he filled me on a few things. Here are the updates:

• Two weeks ago, Golden Boy won the purse bid for the rematch between Erislandy Lara (a Golden Boy fighter) and Vanes Martirosyan (a Top Rank fighter), who fought to a ninth-round technical draw in November. That meant there would be a rematch to determine the mandatory challenger for the belt held by Canelo Alvarez. Schaefer said a contract was sent to Top Rank for Martirosyan to have the fight on Feb. 23 in Detroit on Showtime on the undercard of the Devon Alexander-Kelly Brook welterweight title bout. Cornelius "K9" Bundrage defends his junior middleweight belt against Ishe Smith in the co-feature.

Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti said that Martirosyan might not be ready by then. When told that, Schaefer said, "The WBC ruled that is plenty of time. If Vanes can't make the fight, I guess he gets removed from his position and we will have to move on to the next available contender. But we are ready to move forward. Lara is ready to go."

• Victor Ortiz is expected back in the ring in September, Schaefer said. Ortiz has lost two fights in a row since outpointing Andre Berto to win a welterweight title in April 2011. Ortiz then got knocked out by Floyd Mayweather Jr., and in June retired on his stool after the ninth round because Josesito Lopez broke his jaw in a major upset, ruining Ortiz's planned September fight with Alvarez. Schaefer said Ortiz's jaw is healed and that he will return in the fall. The reason for so much time off, Schaefer said, was not because of a medical issue, but because of a project Ortiz was working on, which Schaefer declined to discuss.

• Although Schaefer doesn't have a promotional contract with Berto, Golden Boy is his de facto promoter due to the strong relationship he has with Berto adviser Al Haymon. Schaefer said he and Haymon have been talking about Berto's return.

"We want to get him back in the ring in April," Schaefer said, adding that Berto could challenge Paulie Malignaggi for his welterweight belt on April 27 now that the Malignaggi-Shane Mosley fight is off. "Paulie and Berto can both make good paydays, and it's a fight that there would be interest in, so we are talking about it."

• Miguel Cotto, who works closely with Golden Boy (although they have no promotional agreement) won't be back until at least the summer, Schaefer said. Cotto lost an upset decision to junior middleweight titlist Austin Trout in December and has dropped two in a row, having lost a decision to Mayweather in May. "I've been in touch with Miguel's team and I think he's planning to do a fight in the second half of the year," Schaefer said.

• Bantamweight titlist Leo Santa Cruz broke out in 2012 by winning all five of his fights, claiming a 118-pound title and emerging as one of boxing's most exciting fighters. He even headlined the return of boxing to CBS in December. After such a rigorous schedule last year, Schaefer said Santa Cruz is taking some time off.

"He was a bit tired. He fought a lot and needed to let his body to rest," Schaefer said. "It was a big year for him, and we are planning to bring him back in May. It could be on his own date or it could be part of [Mayweather's] May 4 pay-per-view card. I am also having conversations with CBS about our next fight, and he could be on that card, as well. We are having discussions with CBS about which dates would work."