- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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A few notes from around the boxing world:
• When Rances Barthelemy relinquished his junior lightweight belt to move up in weight, that left Puerto Rico's Jose Pedraza and Billy Dib of Australia, the IBF's leading available contenders, to meet for the vacant title. However, when Dib passed on the fight to instead challenge Japan's Takashi Miura for his version of the 130-pound world title, the IBF went to its next contender and has ordered Pedraza (19-0, 12 KOs) to meet Russia's Andrey Klimov (19-1, 9 KOs), who has won three bouts in a row since doing absolutely nothing in a shutout loss to Terence Crawford in October 2013. The Pedraza and Klimov camps have until April 12 to make a deal or a purse bid will be ordered.
• If the promoters for lightweight titlist Mickey Bey (21-1-1, 10 KOs), who is with Mayweather Promotions, and mandatory challenger Denis Shafikov (35-1-1, 19 KOs), who is with Top Rank, do not make a deal for the fight there will be a purse bid on March 26. According to Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti, he has been negotiating the bout with Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe. "We've had an open dialogue and we're hopeful to make a deal," Moretti told ESPN.com.
• In the lead-up to the junior middleweight bout between former unified titleholder Canelo Alvarez (44-1-1, 31 KOs) and big puncher James Kirkland (32-1, 28 KOs), HBO will debut a 30-minute edition of "24/7 Alvarez/Kirkland" to preview the bout, which will take place May 9 at Minute Maid Park in Houston. Liev Schreiber returns as narrator of the Emmy Award-winning series.
• Former bantamweight and featherweight titlist Hozumi Hasegawa (33-5, 15 KOs), 34, of Japan, will end a 13-month layoff by facing rising Mexican junior featherweight contender Horacio Garcia (29-0, 21 KOs), 24, of Mexico, on May 9 in Kobe, Japan. Hasegawa has not fought since being demolished by Kiko Martinez in a junior featherweight world title bout in April 2014 in Osaka, Japan. Hasegawa said for his comeback fight he wanted to be tested. "I don't like to fight an easy opponent but a strong foe that will test my current power, which will certainly motivate me to work hard," he said.