Dan Rafael: Deontay Wilder

A few notes from around the boxing world:

• Top Rank’s Bob Arum, who hopes to match featherweight titleholder Vasyl Lomachenko and Nicholas Walters in a unification fight later this year, after each has one more fight, told ESPN.com he has talked to HBO about the possibility of Lomachenko making a defense on the undercard of fellow Ukrainian and heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko’s defense against Bryant Jennings on April 25 at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Arum said Walters could land on the HBO undercard of lightweight champion Terence Crawford’s next fight, which likely will be in April or May (and will probably mark Crawford’s move up to junior welterweight).

• Although Top Rank controls featherweight titleholder Lomachenko, Walters and Evgeny Gradovich, adviser Al Haymon handles former titlist Abner Mares and contender Gary Russell, who lost to Lomachenko a decision for a vacant belt last year. Mares is slated to fight an opponent to be determined March 7 on the Keith Thurman-Robert Guerrero undercard at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Haymon is also trying to put together a fight in which Russell would challenge titlist Jhonny Gonzalez on March 28 on his new “Premier Boxing Champions” series with the idea that Mares, should he win March 7, would face the winner of the proposed Gonzalez-Russell fight in June.

• The reason you didn’t see Brian Kenny hosting Showtime’s Deontay Wilder-Bermane Stiverne card two weeks ago is his contract with the network expired at the end of 2014. According to Showtime, Kenny was offered a new contract but is “weighing his options.” Kenny, according to broadcast industry sources, might become involved in broadcasting Haymon’s “Premier Boxing Champions” series, which will air on NBC, NBC Sports Net and Spike TV beginning in March with other broadcast outlets also likely to be added. Industry sources said Haymon is planning similar time buys for the cards on CBS Sports Net and BET to put on fights involving his vast stable of more than 150 fighters.

• British promoter Frank Warren announced he will not renew his management and promotional contracts with British and Commonwealth welterweight champion Frankie Gavin (21-1, 13 KOs), the 29-year-old former world amateur champion. Warren signed Gavin, one of boxing’s top prospects when he entered the pro ranks, in 2008 and has promoted him throughout his career. No reason was given for the decision.

Santa Cruz defends belt against Ruiz

January, 14, 2015
Jan 14
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For about the past year-plus, junior featherweight titlist Leo Santa Cruz has professed to wanting to unify belts and to fight the best. He has mentioned a desire to face the likes of unified champion Guillermo Rigondeaux, titleholders Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg and former titlist and current featherweight contender Abner Mares.

But for the past year-plus, Santa Cruz, an excellent fighter with a fan-friendly style who fans have wanted to see face quality opposition, has instead faced lesser opponents, including a woeful mismatch against former sparring partner Manuel Roman, whom he knocked out in the second round in September.

Santa Cruz’s opposition is not going to be much better when he makes his fourth title defense against Jesus Ruiz (33-5-5, 22 KOs) on Saturday night (Showtime, 10 ET) in the co-feature of the fight between heavyweight titleholder Bermane Stiverne (24-1-1, 21 KOs) and mandatory challenger Deontay Wilder (32-0, 32 KOs) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Going into Saturday’s fight, it doesn’t even seem like Santa Cruz is facing Ruiz, 25, of Mexico, who is given so little chance of winning that talk has been about other opponents instead.

While Santa Cruz (28-0-1, 16 KOs), a former bantamweight titlist who vacated that belt to move up in weight in May 2013, said he is not taking Ruiz lightly, even referring to him as “a great fighter, a tough fighter,” in the next breath he talked about other opponents.

“I want the Rigondeaux fight, but the promoters have not come to an agreement,” Santa Cruz said. “If it was up to me, I would fight him whenever. I am tired of people telling me that I am scared. I am looking for that fight as soon as possible. He is not invisible. I think I have a chance to beat him. I know he is a tough fighter, but that's what we are here for, to fight the best.

"We are going to keep pushing for a fight with Abner Mares or Rigondeaux, have the promoters make that fight as soon as possible, so all the fans can be happy. I think if I can fight Mares, it will be a big pay-per-view event here at Staples Center in Los Angeles.”

Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya has said that he wants to match Santa Cruz, 26, of Rosemead, California, with top opponents. De La Hoya is especially interested in the Mares fight but has also made it clear that it is Santa Cruz’s manager, Al Haymon, who has not signed off on the marquee bouts.

Jose Santa Cruz, Leo’s father and trainer, said he is also interested in seeing his son face Mares, but not Rigondeaux.

“The fact he is not fighting Mares or Rigondeaux, those are down the road and will happen,” he said. “A fight with Rigondeaux does not excite me, though, because I know when he feels pressure or the heat, he is going to grab, hold or run. I am not interested in fighting him. I would like to fight Mares or whoever else though, no problem. I do not like Rigondeaux's style, and neither does the public.”

Weeks to ref Stiverne-Wilder

January, 12, 2015
Jan 12
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The Nevada State Athletic Commission on Monday unanimously selected the officials for the two world title fights on Saturday night (Showtime, 10 ET) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Picked to referee the bout between heavyweight titleholder Bermane Stiverne (24-1-1, 21 KOs) and mandatory challenger Deontay Wilder (32-0, 32 KOs) was Tony Weeks, who has worked one previous Stiverne bout and no Wilder bouts.

The judges will be Adalaide Byrd and Jerry Roth, both of Nevada, and Craig Metcalfe of Canada.

Kenny Bayless will referee the fight between junior featherweight titlist Leo Santa Cruz (28-0-1, 16 KOs) and Jesus Ruiz (33-5-5, 22 KOs). Bayless was the referee for Santa Cruz’s lopsided decision win against Cristian Mijares in March. Bayless has never worked a Ruiz bout.

The judges, all from Nevada, will be Eric Cheek, Burt Clements and Dave Moretti.

The commission also approved dates for three cards, although the bouts have not been determined.

Goossen Promotions is planning a card for March 7 at the MGM Grand. It is likely a show on the new Al Haymon-controlled series on NBC and NBC Sports Network.

The commission also approved March 28 for a card co-promoted by Goossen Promotions and Warriors Boxing to take place at the Grand Ballroom at the MGM Grand. That could also be a card on the new Haymon series, which will be announced Wednesday at a news conference in New York.

Also for March 28, the commission approved Big Knockout Boxing for its next pay-per-view event at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

Santa Cruz likely to defend against Ruiz

December, 30, 2014
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A few notes from around the boxing world:

• The fight is less than three weeks away but junior featherweight titlist Leo Santa Cruz still does not have an opponent set to face him in his fourth defense on Jan. 17 (Showtime) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in the co-feature of the bout between heavyweight titleholder Bermane Stiverne and mandatory challenger Deontay Wilder. However, Santa Cruz (28-0-1, 16 KOs) likely will face Mexican countryman Jesus Ruiz (33-5-5, 22 KOs), who has won five fights in a row, albeit against pedestrian opposition.

The Showtime tripleheader is expected to open with junior welterweight prospect Amir Imam (15-0, 13 KOs), of Pompano Beach, Florida, taking on Fidel Maldonado Jr. (19-2, 16 KOs) of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

• Light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson, who passed up opportunities for major fights in 2014 against Sergey Kovalev, Bernard Hopkins and Jean Pascal, has seen his Showtime viewership figures fall. His one-sided fifth-round blowout of Dmitry Sukhotsky on Dec. 19 on Showtime drew an average of 323,000 viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. That is less than half of what Stevenson drew for his Showtime debut in May, when he drew an average of 672,000 viewers for his unexpectedly tough decision win against Andrzej Fonfara. In 2013, Stevenson fought three fights in a row on HBO and averaged about 1.2 million viewers, although HBO is in about 28 million homes compared to about 23 million for Showtime.

• Jean O’Grady, matriarch of boxing’s O’Grady family, died Dec. 24 in Austin, Texas. She was 79. Married to the late promoter Patrick O’Grady, she was involved in many aspects of putting on the regular boxing cards he promoted in the Midwest, particularly in Oklahoma, in the 1970s and 1980s, a time when it was highly unusual for a woman to be so involved in the business. One their children, Sean O’Grady, won a lightweight world title in 1981 and went on to further fame as a boxing broadcaster.

• British junior middleweight Brian Rose’s bout against Carson Jones has been rescheduled for Feb. 14 at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, England, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn announced. The fight was originally scheduled for Jan. 23 in Manchester on the undercard of lightweight titleholder Richar Abril’s defense against Anthony Crolla. But the card was called off after Crolla was injured. Rose (26-2-1, 8 KOs), 29, is seeking his second win in a row since he was knocked out in the seventh round challenging world titleholder Demetrius Andrade in June. Jones (36-10-3, 26 KOs), 28, of Oklahoma City, is familiar to British fans. He has fought three of his past five bouts in England, including two losses to Kell Brook, who later won a welterweight world title.

WBC sets mandatories, pushes Floyd-Pac

December, 18, 2014
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The 52nd annual WBC convention is going on this week at the Mirage in Las Vegas, and while I have little use for the sanctioning organization -- one which regularly breaks its own rules -- one element of the convention is significant because it has a direct impact on fights that fans will see.

It comes when spending a day dealing with mandatory defenses in each division.

So here is a division-by-division rundown of what to look for in each weight class as it relates to the WBC’s title. Keep in mind, this is what the WBC has ruled but does not mean the fighters and their handlers won’t go in another direction.

• Heavyweight: Titleholder Bermane Stiverne must make two mandatory defenses as he won a vacant title in May. He meets Deontay Wilder on Jan. 17 and then the winner must face Bryant Jennings. Because Jennings is likely going to challenge champion Wladimir Klitschko for his other alphabet belts on April 25, a final eliminator between Alexander Povetkin and Mike Perez was ordered to determine the second mandatory.

• Cruiserweight: Thabiso Mchunu and Ilungu Makubu were ordered to meet in a final eliminator to determine the mandatory challenger for titleholder Grigory Drozd.

• Light heavyweight: Champion Adonis Stevenson has an optional defense against Dmitry Sukhotsky on Friday night and the winner can take one more optional defense. But, in a highly unusual move, the WBC accepted a proposal made by Main Events promoter Kathy Duva that the winner of the March 14 fight between three-belt titlist Sergey Kovalev and former champion Jean Pascal become the WBC mandatory challenger. Organizations typically do not rank titleholders from other organizations, but the WBC made an exception -- and a welcome one -- in an effort to force Stevenson into fighting the Kovalev-Pascal winner. If the sides do not make a deal and it goes to a purse bid the split will be 50-50, another highly unusual move because usually a WBC titleholder is entitled to no less than 60 percent in a purse bid.

• Super middleweight: Titleholder Anthony Dirrell is expected to make an optional defense in February with the winner obligated to make a mandatory defense against George Groves in the next fight.

• Middleweight: Champion Miguel Cotto is allowed an optional defense, likely against Canelo Alvarez on May 2. Titleholder Gennady Golovkin, who is also the WBC’s interim titleholder, faces Martin Murray on Feb. 21. The Golovkin-Murray winner will be the mandatory challenger for the winner of Cotto’s next fight, be it against Alvarez or somebody else.

• Junior middleweight/welterweight: Floyd Mayweather Jr. holds both WBC belts. Promoter Sampson Lewkowicz proposed an eight-man tournament in each weight division to determine the mandatory challengers, which was approved by the WBC Board of Governors. Nice idea, but it has almost no chance of coming off as planned. Nonetheless, WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman commented on it as it relates to a Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight.

“The WBC has participated to allow and encourage in every way the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight to take place,” he said. “The WBC has not set any obstacles or conditions for the fight to take place. The WBC has approved to have a dual championship for the welterweight and (junior middleweight) divisions. Floyd Mayweather is confirmed to hold both titles, and there is no mandatory in either division until we can finalize if he is fighting Pacquiao. There are proposed tournaments to take place in both divisions to keep both divisions active, and to eventually determine the mandatory challengers."

• Junior welterweight: Champion Danny Garcia has a step-aside deal in place with mandatory challenger Viktor Postol. The winner of Garcia’s voluntary defense, which has no date or opponent yet, is required to fight Postol next.

• Lightweight: Jorge Linares and Javier Prieto fight for the vacant belt Dec. 30. Final eliminators were approved to determine the two mandatory challengers, one between Hank Lundy and Dejan Zlaticanin and one between Daniel Estrada and Kevin Mitchell, which is scheduled for Jan. 31.

• Junior lightweight: Titleholder Takashi Miura is in an optional stage and the WBC approved a fight between Stephen Smith and Javier Fortuna for the No. 1 ranking.

• Featherweight: Since there has been no mandatory defense for more than two years, two eliminators are on tap with the winners supposedly to face titleholder Jhonny Gonzalez. The winner of the Jan. 26 fight between Rocky Juarez and Robinson Castellanos will be one challenger. The next challenger is supposed to be the winner of a fight between Marvin Sonsona and Jayson Velez, which is not scheduled yet.

• Junior featherweight: Titleholder Leo Santa Cruz will have to make a mandatory defense against the winner of a March 14 fight between Andres Gutierrez and Hugo Ruiz of Mexico.

• Bantamweight: Titleholder Shinsuke Yamanaka is in his voluntary defense period and there is no mandatory yet.

• Junior bantamweight: A final eliminator between Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Jose Salgado was approved. The winner of the unscheduled bout will be mandatory for Carlos Cuadras.

• Flyweight: Nawaphon Sor Rungvisai and Edgar Sosa were approved to fight a final eliminator to become champion Roman Gonzalez’s mandatory.

• Junior flyweight: Pedro Guevara faces Akira Yaegashi for the vacant title on Dec. 30. A final eliminator to determine the mandatory challenger for the winner was also approved. It will be a fight between Jonathan Inguito Taconing and either Ganigan Lopez or Adrian Hernandez.

• Strawweight: Titleholder Wanheng Menayothin is in a voluntary stage until November. A final eliminator between Carlos Ortega and Denver Cuello was approved.

Stiverne-Wilder on Jan. 17 in Las Vegas?

November, 18, 2014
11/18/14
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The long-overdue mandatory fight between heavyweight titlist Bermane Stiverne and Deontay Wilder appears to be set.

Two sources involved in the fight told ESPN.com that the fight is ticketed for Jan. 17 on Showtime at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Multiple purse bids were postponed, and then it was finally canceled as the camps slogged through a brutal negotiation. When they finally made a deal, they still didn’t have an exact date or site, but the fight had to take place no later than the first quarter of 2015.

Stiverne (24-1-1, 21 KOs), 36, a native of Haiti living and training in Las Vegas, knocked out Chris Arreola in the sixth round on May 10 in Los Angeles to win the world title vacated in December when Vitali Klitschko retired to focus on his political career in Ukraine.

Wilder (32-0, 32 KOs), 29, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was a 2008 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist and the last American man to medal in Olympic boxing. He has rolled to a perfect record and mandatory status despite never facing any opponent remotely close to being a top contender or going past the fourth round.

HBO picks up Klitschko-Pulev

November, 8, 2014
11/08/14
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ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- HBO announced to press row on Saturday night at the Bernard Hopkins-Sergey Kovalev fight at Boardwalk Hall that it has finalized a deal to carry live American coverage of the Nov. 15 heavyweight championship fight between Wladimir Klitschko and mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev from the O2 World arena in Hamburg, Germany.

The telecast will begin at 4:45 p.m. ET/PT, an HBO spokesman said.

HBO’s deal for the fight, according to a source with knowledge of the deal, said the agreement to carry the Pulev fight is part of a larger overall deal the network has made with Klitschko for three fights.

It seems like a very smart move for HBO to wrap up a historically significant dominant heavyweight champion, especially with there being interest in Klitschko eventually facing the winner of the fight between titleholder Bermane Stiverne and Deontay Wilder, his mandatory challenger. That fight does not have a date yet -- or a network deal -- but is expected to take place in February with the winner’s biggest fight being a unification with Klitschko.

HBO’s broadcast crew will not be on site for Klitschko-Pulev. Rather, the announcers will call the bout from San Antonio, Texas, off monitors because HBO’s production team will be there for a card it is carrying on HBO Latino that night.

It is unprecedented for HBO to add a fight to its schedule on a week’s notice. The network usually lines up its schedule months ahead of time.

Klitschko (62-3, 53 KOs) will be making his 17th title defense against Pulev (20-0, 11 KOs). Klitschko, 38, of Ukraine, has held the title for more than eight years, making him the second longest heavyweight champion in history behind the great Joe Louis, who was champion for more than 11 years. Klitschko’s 16 successful defenses during his second title reign are the third most in heavyweight history behind only Larry Holmes (20) and Joe Louis (25).

Lara-Smith title bout in works

October, 30, 2014
10/30/14
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Erislandy LaraMark Ralston/AFP/Getty ImagesJunior middleweight titlist Erislandy Lara will defend his belt against Ishe Smith on Dec. 12.

A few notes from around the boxing world:

• The fight has not been formally announced yet but junior middleweight titlist Erislandy Lara (19-2-2, 12 KOs) is supposed to defend his belt for the first time against former titlist Ishe Smith (26-6, 12 KOs) on Dec. 12 (Showtime) in a fight that was originally scheduled to take place on May 2. The likely site is San Antonio. Although Lara lost a decision in his last fight to Canelo Alvarez in July, he still holds a title because the fight was at 155 pounds, one over the division limit and, therefore, not a title bout. Smith lost his title in his first defense to Carlos Molina in September 2013 and, in his return, stopped journeyman Ryan Davis in the second round May 2. Smith was originally supposed to challenge Lara on that date, but when he dropped out of the fight in order to accept the big fight with Alvarez, Davis replaced him.

• Heavyweight Andy Ruiz (23-0, 17 KOs) is due to take on the severely faded former titlist Sergey Liakhovich on Dec. 20 (UniMas) in Phoenix, according to Top Rank. Ruiz scored a first-round knockout of low-level opponent Kenny Lemos last Saturday. While Ruiz, 25, won easily he was in poor condition, weighing a soft 272 pounds, 22 more than his previous fight in May. The 38-year-old Liakhovich (26-6, 16 KOs) has lost three of his past four by knockout, including two fights ago to Deontay Wilder, who drilled him so badly in the first round of their August 2013 fight Liakhovich was left literally twitching on the canvas when he hit the deck and was out cold. Liakhovich won his last fight, an eight-round decision against Chad Davis, whose record was 5-11 entering the fight.

• Golden Boy has announced opponents for junior featherweight Joseph Diaz Jr. (12-0, 8 KOs), featherweight Julian Ramirez (12-0, 7 KOs), junior featherweight Diego De La Hoya (7-0, 5 KOs) and Chinese heavyweight Taishan Dong (1-0, 1 KO), all of whom are scheduled to fight on “Golden Boy Live” on Nov. 13 (10 p.m. ET, Fox Spots 1/Fox Deportes) at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California. Diaz, a 2012 U.S. Olympian, will face Roberto Castaneda (21-7-1, 15 KOs). Ramirez, nephew of the late former junior lightweight champion Genaro Hernandez, will face Pedro Melo (11-5-2, 2 KOs). De La Hoya, Oscar De La Hoya’s first cousin, faces Ali Gonzalez (6-3, 1 KO). Dong faces Michael Lane (0-3).

• Zanfer Promotions canceled its card Saturday night in Tijuana, Mexico. The reason was because featherweight Manuel Garcia injured his right hand and was forced to drop out of the main event against former junior bantamweight titleholder Tomas Rojas (44-14-1, 29 KOs). The card was due to be televised in the United States on beIN Sports Espanol.

Aguilar re-elected as NSAC chairman

October, 28, 2014
10/28/14
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A few notes from around the boxing world:

• Nevada State Athletic Commission chairman Francisco Aguilar was unanimously elected to a second one-year term at the panel’s monthly meeting Monday in Las Vegas. That is a significant change from the norm as the chairman usually serves just one year before another member of the five-person commission is selected. However, Aguilar was given another year because the commission believes he has done a superb job during his term and because a lot of projects he would typically have spent time on, including the budget, took a backseat.

The reason for that was because Aguilar was much more involved with the commission on a day-to-day basis than commissioners usually are because he handled many of the duties of the executive director while overseeing the search for a new one in the wake of Keith Kizer’s resignation. The commission eventually hired Bob Bennett. Aguilar’s term will expire in October 2015.

• Although promoters Don King and Golden Boy have not made an announcement and the fight still has no date, site or official television deal, the WBC announced that an agreement has been reached for the bout between heavyweight titleholder Bermane Stiverne and mandatory challenger Deontay Wilder, and that the purse bid process has been called off.

• Hiawatha Knight, the former president of the IBF, died last week. A memorial service is scheduled for Thursday in Detroit. “We were deeply saddened when we learned of the passing of our former president Hiawatha Knight last week,” the IBF said in a statement. “Hiawatha was part of the fabric of the IBF/USBA. She was a founding member of the organization and held a position on the board of directors until recently. Hiawatha became a leader in the sport when it wasn’t common to see a woman in such a position. She was one of the pioneers creating a path for many more women to come. Her passion and enthusiasm for boxing, and her dedication to this organization will always be remembered.

"Over the past few days we have received many condolence messages which we deeply appreciate. So many remember her with such fondness, but the common thread in all these messages is, ‘Hiawatha was a class act.’ While our hearts are heavy with this loss, we join the Knight family in honoring and celebrating Hiawatha’s life.”

• In January, 2012 Olympic bronze-medal winner Yamaguchi Falcao (brother of silver medalist Esquiva Falcao) turned pro in his hometown of Sao Paulo and fought to a third-round no-contest with Martin Fidel Rios because both were disqualified for excessive fouls in an extremely dirty fight. Golden Boy, Falcao’s promoter, announced on Monday that Falcao (2-0, 1 KOs) and Rios (13-2-2, 7 KOs) will meet in an eight-round middleweight rematch, also in Sao Paulo, on Nov. 15.

• Mike Tyson’s Iron Mike Productions announced that it will stage a Nov. 21 card at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with 2008 Olympic gold medalist Felix Diaz (15-0, 8 KOs) of the Dominican Republic headlining a welterweight 10-rounder against Adrian Granados (13-2-2, 9 KOs). The co-feature pits featherweight Claudio Marrero (16-1, 12 KOs) and Juan Antonio Rodriguez (26-5, 23 KOs).

Stiverne-Wilder deal getting closer

October, 15, 2014
10/15/14
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The long slog to make the mandatory fight between heavyweight titleholder Bermane Stiverne and Deontay Wilder is inching closer to the finish line.

[+] EnlargeBermane Stiverne
Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesHeavyweight titlist Bermane Stiverne moved one step closer toward seeing his bout with unbeaten Deontay Wilder become a reality.
One of the open issues in making the fight was for Stiverne to come to an agreement with his promoter, Don King, on their side of the deal. On Wednesday, they did, according to Stiverne manager Camille Estephan.

"I made a deal with King that we're very satisfied with financially," Estephan told ESPN.com. "But we are still very anxious to get a date for the fight and a site. I can't speculate about Wilder but I think it's time for him and his team to stop talking and make the fight."

A specific date and venue is key and one of the reasons why Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya, whose company represents Wilder, said they couldn't sign a contract from King. Even though De La Hoya said they had made a financial deal, the date and site were not set.

Estephan said the biggest thing on the Stiverne side was working out the money.

"Don still doesn't know the site or the date but in our agreement the fight is supposed to be either in December or in the first quarter of next year," he said. "I have made a proposal to Don to bring the fight to Quebec City [Stiverne grew up in Canada]. He likes it but he can't give me a commitment yet.

"But I wanted to get our deal done. We are satisfied. We did what we had to do. We don't want to wait anymore. One of the reasons we're very happy to make a deal for the fight is because this is the fight we want and Bermane wants to make a statement in this fight and increase his market value with a good performance against an undefeated, American Olympic medalist."

A purse bid for the fight has been delayed multiple times as the sides have worked toward and agreement.

Oscar: No Stiverne-Wilder deal yet

September, 29, 2014
9/29/14
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Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya's message was very clear: Don't believe everything you hear.

Contrary to an announcement by the WBC, which said De La Hoya and Don King had reached an agreement for the heavyweight title bout between Bermane Stiverne and mandatory challenger Deontay Wilder, De La Hoya told ESPN.com on Sunday night that no deal had been reached.

[+] EnlargeBermane Stiverne
Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesHeavyweight titlist Bermane Stiverne's mandatory defense against Deontay Wilder could be headed toward a purse bid.
Stiverne (24-1-1, 21 KOs), who is promoted by King, is due to make his first defense against the Golden Boy-promoted Wilder (32-0, 32 KOs). A purse bid had been scheduled for Sept. 12, but when the camps told the WBC they were getting closer, it was postponed. If no deal is reached, the purse bid is scheduled for Wednesday.

De La Hoya said he and King have spoken several times but "the problem is we're not getting any closer. I want to make an agreement and we'll see what we can do, but there is nothing agreed to. There is no deal."

De La Hoya was scheduled to fly to New York on Monday for Canelo Alvarez/HBO-related business but said he would again reach out to King, whom he said he has been unable to get in touch with for the past few days.

"I just wanted to clarify there is no deal done, and I have no idea if there will be one," De La Hoya said. "I talked to [WBC president] Mauricio [Sulaiman], and he told me King told him there was a deal. So I rolled my eyes and said, 'That's Don King for you.' The truth of the matter is Deontay Wilder is a Golden Boy fighter, and no deal can be made without talking to me or me giving the authority to talk to [Golden Boy vice president] Eric Gomez.

"Don made an offer. I'm not gonna say the offer but the proper protocol is to give me a site and a date, and that's what I am waiting for. He didn't tell me when and where the fight would be. We're OK with the money, but we want to get the fight done this year. Without a site and date, what would keep Don from just changing things? So without a site and a date in a contract, we have no deal whatsoever."

De La Hoya said he hoped that they would be able to work it out before Wednesday's purse bid.

"I'm confident it won't go to a purse bid," De La Hoya said. "It's actually easy -- if you want to get the fight done, you get the fight done. But it won't get done if Don King can't give me a date or a site."

What about a television network? HBO and Showtime surely would have interest in one of the heavyweight division's most significant fights.

"He hasn't given me that, either," De La Hoya said, adding he is willing to work with any network that offers an acceptable deal. "My motto is I'll give the opportunity to anybody. Since when is competition not healthy?"

Stiverne-Wilder bid postponed

September, 8, 2014
9/08/14
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The entrance of Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports into the boxing promotional business and its stunning $1.9 million bid last month for the middleweight mandatory bout between titlist Peter Quillin and Matt Korobov -- neither of whom it promotes and a fight that won’t happen now because Quillin dumped the title and walked away from a career-high pay day -- means any purse bid could have drama.

However, if Roc Nation Sports had any intention of pulling another stunner on Friday, it’s going to have to wait.

WBC purse bids were scheduled on Friday in Las Vegas -- where the boxing world will be for the Floyd Mayweather-Marcos Maidana rematch -- for a pair of mandatory defenses: heavyweight titlist Bermane Stiverne against Deontay Wilder, and junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia against Viktor Postol.

I have no doubt Roc Nation would have sent a representative and been inclined to bid as it looks to pick up fights while it establishes a stable of boxers. However, the WBC has postponed both bids until Oct. 1, according to a WBC spokesman. No reason was given.
There could be a lot of boxing activity outside the ring on Sept. 12 in Las Vegas, and it will have nothing to do with the next day's big fight, the rematch between unified welterweight champ Floyd Mayweather Jr. and former titlist Marcos Maidana.

Since much of the boxing world will be gathered at the MGM Grand for Mayweather-Maidana II, Sept. 12 is the date for a pair of potential WBC purse bids.

The organization has ordered two mandatory fights, heavyweight titlist Bermane Stiverne's first defense against Deontay Wilder and junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia's sixth defense against Viktor Postol. The camps were all notified that they should begin negotiating the fights but if the Stiverne and Wilder camps and Garcia and Postol camps don't negotiate deals then purse bids will take place on that date.

The fight between Stiverne (24-1-1, 21 KOs) and Wilder (32-0, 32 KOs) has been anticipated since Stiverne knocked out Chris Arreola in their rematch on May 10 to win the belt Vitali Klitschko vacated upon his retirement in December.

With Stiverne nursing a hand injury, Wilder took a stay-busy fight on Aug. 16 and knocked out Jason Gavern in the fourth round in the final hurdle before the title bout, which is expected to take place in November or December.

Many hoped that Garcia (29-0, 17 KOs), who drilled no-hope lightweight Rod Salka in the second round on Aug. 9 in a gross mismatch, would next face titleholder Lamont Peterson -- who defended his belt on the undercard in a similar mismatch against Edgar Santana -- in a unification fight next. That appears out the window, and the Aug. 9 card even more pointless (if that is even possible) now that the WBC has ordered Garcia's mandatory defense against Postol (26-0, 11 KOs).

Postol gained the mandatory position on May 17 by knocking out Selcuk Aydin in the 11th round of an impressive performance on the Juan Manuel Marquez-Mike Alvarado undercard in the return of boxing to the refurbished Forum in Inglewood, California.

Wilder staying busy before title shot

August, 12, 2014
8/12/14
8:44
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Deotay WilderJoel Colon/PR Best Boxing PromotionsHeavyweight contender Deontay Wilder is not taking Jason Gavern lightly.

Deontay Wilder is in the mandatory position to challenge newly crowned heavyweight titleholder Bermane Stiverne before the end of the year in a fight that has been ordered, but with Stiverne nursing a sore hand it is unclear when the fight will take place. So Wilder is going to keep busy in order to stay sharp for when the title fight does happen.

To that end, the 28-year-old Wilder, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, will step into the ring to fight on Saturday (Showtime Extreme, 7 p.m. ET/PT) on the Kell Brook-Shawn Porter undercard at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

A loss would kill his shot at Stiverne and, sure, anything can happen in the ring, but Wilder is understandably not taking much of a risk against journeyman opponent Jason Gavern (25-16-4, 11 KOs), who has been knocked out seven times and lost whenever he has stepped up.

Wilder (31-0, 31 KOs), the 2008 U.S. Olympic super heavyweight bronze medalist, has yet to face a serious opponent in his career, although Gavern is probably better than most of the guys he has faced.

Wilder has 18 first-round knockouts and has never been past the fourth round. Still, as remote as the possibility is that he would lose to Gavern, you never know for sure what will happen when that bell rings.

That is why Wilder rightly said he is not taking Gavern lightly.

"This is boxing, and this is the heavyweight division. So you can't take anyone lightly,” said Wilder, who is coming off a first-round knockout of Malik Scott in March. “I'm not treating this like a warm-up. My main focus is fighting for a title, but I'm not looking past my opponent on [Saturday].

“I'm good to go. I'm always in shape. I'm always in the gym. I treat boxing like my nine to five. Others may not take it seriously, but this is a sport where you can get hurt if you don't protect yourself and take it seriously. So I'm always tuned up and ready to go for my fans."

Wilder said that his focus is not so much on Gavern but on making sure he gets to Stiverne.

"My motivation is fighting for a world title,” Wilder said. “I need to go into the ring and take care of my opponent. I have to fight to win and succeed in order to provide for my family.

"We're not looking past [Saturday], but we know to prepare for Stiverne. That's how confident I am in my ability and skills. I'm not worried about people picking the 'right guy' for me. I would be the laughing stock of the world if I had the title fight lined up and lost this fight on [Saturday]. So I just have to get the job done next week and we'll go from there."

The 37-year-old Gavern is experienced and has faced several name opponents, including Oleg Maskaev, Steve Cunningham, Mariusz Wach and Denis Boytsov, but he lost to them all.

His biggest win? A three-round decision against totally shot 45-year-old James Toney, who has not been a factor since about 2007, in the November semifinals of a “Prizefighter” tournament in England.

Wilder, Linares in very soft fights

August, 8, 2014
8/08/14
11:20
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Heavyweight contender Deontay Wilder and lightweight contender Jorge Linares now have opponents for their fights on the Aug. 16 Shawn Porter-Kell Brook undercard at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.

Wilder (31-0, 31 KOs) is staying busy in anticipation of a mandatory heavyweight title shot against Bermane Stiverne and taking no gambles.

Wilder, a 2008 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist, who has faced extremely soft opposition throughout his career, will face gargantuan underdog Jason Gavern (25-16-4, 11 KOs), 37, who has won four of his last five fights following a seven-fight losing streak. He has been knocked out in seven of his losses. In his last fight, Gavern lost a three-round decision to Michael Sprott in a “Prizefighter” tournament final in England in November after winning a three-round decision against the totally shot James Toney in the semifinals earlier in the evening.

Linares (36-3, 23 KOs), a former featherweight and junior lightweight world titleholder, will face club fighter Ira Terry (26-11, 16 KOs), who is 2-9 with a no contest in his last 12 bouts. He has been knocked out in seven of his defeats. Linares is staying busy in anticipation of a possible shot against the winner of the fight between lightweight titlist Omar Figueroa and mandatory challenger Daniel Estrada, which is also on the card.

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