Dan Rafael: Michael Yormark
September, 1, 2014
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com
Joe Camporeale/USA TODAY SportsPeter Quillin would earn a career-high purse for his mandatory title defense against Matt Korobov.Middleweight contender Matt Korobov has signed for his mandatory shot against titlist "Kid Chocolate" Peter Quillin, doing so last week after promoter Top Rank received the contract from Roc Nation Sports, the sports agency founded by music mogul Jay Z that is now licensed as a boxing promoter.
But Quillin's side? Pretty much radio silence, according to Roc Nation Sports, which shocked everyone by winning a purse bid for the fight for a whopping $1,904,840 to handily defeat two other bids by Quillin promoter Golden Boy Promotions ($1,207,000) and Korobov promoter Top Rank ($515,000).
The Korobov side couldn't wait to sign. It received the contract from Roc Nation Sports, asked for a minor adjustment and returned the signed contract with no issues, according to both Roc Nation Sports and Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti.
The Quillin side, however, has been almost silent, which is perplexing when you consider the money on the table from Roc Nation Sports' clear overbid.
Roc Nation Sports is looking to make a splash in boxing, and it certainly has everyone's attention now.
It plans to put the fight on Nov. 1 in Quillin's hometown at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, as long as he signs for the fight. Roc Nation Sports originally intended to put the fight on Nov. 8, but moved off the date so as not to conflict with the HBO telecast of the Bernard Hopkins-Sergey Kovalev light heavyweight unification bout that night in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
There is no television deal yet for Quillin-Korobov, but the date and site are locked in after Barclays Center agreed to move a concert off Nov. 1 to accommodate the fight for Jay Z.
"Top Rank requested a change which we made and are very excited about the fight," Michael Yormark, president and chief of branding and strategy for parent company Roc Nation, told ESPN.com.
The Quillin side, however, was not nearly as excited as Top Rank/Korobov, even though Quillin stands to make by far his biggest purse -- more than $1.4 million, which is more than three times his biggest payday.
According to Yormark, Golden Boy asked for an extension to sign the contract, which the WBO granted. Instead of being due back by Aug. 28, the deadline was extended to Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET.
"With the exception of asking for an extension they have been very quiet, which is unusual with this kind of purse on the table," Yormark said. "We don't understand why they haven't rushed to sign this contact or ask for changes to move this fight forward. We're not sure. We're puzzled. We're very curious. With Top Rank, there was 100 percent cooperation. With Golden Boy, there seems to be indifference."
Yormark's speculation is that perhaps Al Haymon, Quillin's adviser, is not so eager to finalize the deal, that perhaps he has other plans.
Even still, what other fight out there in the coming months could Haymon get Quillin that would pay him anything close to what the Korobov fight will? There isn't one. And for any other fight Quillin would also have to give up his title.
"I have to tell you that it feels that way," Yormark said of his belief that Haymon is trying to block the fight. "We are concerned but at the same time very puzzled.
"For us this is about the fighters, like it is with our other clients [in other sports and entertainment]. We want to make sure the fighters get paid. They deserve to get paid. These guys deserve to get paid the amount of money we [bid]. Both of them deserve it. They earned those dollars and we're anxious to move forward for them and put this fight on."
If Quillin doesn't sign by the deadline, he could be stripped of his title and would lose out on the payday.
Golden Boy vice president Eric Gomez told ESPN.com it requested the delay in the contract deadline because Quillin's wife gave birth to their first child (a boy) last week and wanted him to enjoy some family time.
"His baby was just born so we asked for a little more time so he can be with his family and then review [the contract] with his attorney. He's not rushing to meet with his attorney a few days after the baby was born," Gomez said. "There are also concerns from Al about the TV because Peter is a Showtime fighter and he's trying to figure out the TV. It is a concern if you are a manager who has a fighter who fights regularly on Showtime and all of a sudden you are on a different network. There's something out there known as an image. There is some concern there. But the money is great.
"Out of respect to Peter and his wife he wanted a little bit more time [to sign] and the WBO granted it."
1. With that much money at stake, you'd think Quillin would sign the paperwork as soon as humanly possible, as long as it was a good contract, especially with a new member of the family to support.
2. Quillin is not contractually signed to Showtime or any other network. None of Haymon's clients are with the exception of Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Amir Khan, both of whom have Showtime deals.
3. Roc Nation Sports said it would be happy to make a TV deal for the bout with Showtime -- or any other network interested.
As of Monday evening, there still had been no additional communication between Golden Boy and Roc Nation Sports on the deal. It'll be interesting to see what happens at 4 p.m. ET Wednesday.