Junior middleweight contenders Erislandy Lara and Vanes Martirosyan, who battled to a ninth-round technical draw in November, are headed to a rematch to determine the mandatory challenger for world titleholder Saul "Canelo" Alvarez.
Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes Lara, won a purse bid on Friday to gain the right to put on the fight. Golden Boy won with a bid of $410,000, easily topping the only other offer, which was $62,500 from Top Rank, which promotes Martirosyan.
According to Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti, the fight is supposed to be put on within 90 days. Each fighter is entitled to 50 percent of the winning bid, $205,000.
The first fight took place Nov. 10 at the Wynn in Las Vegas and ended prematurely when Martirosyan suffered a cut over his left eye because of an accidental clash of heads. When the ringside doctor ruled he was unable to continue, referee Jay Nady stopped the fight and sent it to the scorecards for a technical decision. But it wound up a draw when one judges scored it 87-84 for Lara, one had it 86-85 for Martirosyan and one had it 86-86.
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"It's the fight we want, the fight we want to go back and do," said Luis DeCubas Jr., Lara's manager. "I think everyone had Lara winning the fight the first time around except two of the judges. We haven't spoken on dates yet with Golden Boy. They said they would go out and win the purse bid and that's exactly what they did. Lara will be ready to fight tomorrow, in 60 days, in 90 days, whenever."
Since promotional rivals Top Rank and Golden Boy refuse to make deals with each other, the first fight also went to a purse bid. Top Rank won that auction, outbidding Golden Boy $405,000 to $326,000.
The November fight was lackluster with little action. HBO planned to show it as an undercard bout to the featherweight title bout between Orlando Salido and Miguel Angel "Mikey" Garcia. But when Salido suffered a broken a finger and the fight was postponed until Jan. 19, HBO bumped Lara-Martirosyan up to the main event.
Moretti said Top Rank's much lower bid the second time around was because HBO had no interest in buying the fight. Golden Boy is closely aligned with Showtime, which buys most of its top fights.
"HBO showed zero interest in the fight; mainly and rightfully so because of Lara's style," Moretti said. "Can't blame them. They actually are cognizant of what they air and we respect that."
Lara (17-1-2, 11 KOs), a 29-year-old southpaw and former amateur world champion, who defected from Cuba and lives in Houston, fought quite defensively against Martirosyan (32-0-1, 20 KOs), a 26-year-old 2004 U.S. Olympian from Glendale, Calif.
DeCubas said whatever network puts on the fight, he was happy that Golden Boy made a commitment to it with its strong bid.
"There are a few networks I think that would buy the fight," he said. "Golden Boy put up a great number, which we are happy about. So let's see where it winds up."
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