Felix Verdejo will finally get a chance to prove his status as one of boxing's best prospects when he finally gets an opportunity to fight for a world title.
According to Bob Arum, Verdejo's promoter, the undefeated Puerto Rican prospect might fight WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan in Flanagan's hometown of Manchester, England on September 9, the same day HBO is broadcasting the Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez vs. Srisaket Sor Rungvisai rematch.
Arum spoke with Puerto Rican newspaper El Nuevo Dia and said the fight is not yet official, but it's near completion. Meanwhile, WBO president Francisco Valcarcel said that fight must be made. Otherwise, Verdejo's status as the mandatory challenger would be revoked.
"For Flanagan, his time is up on fighting his mandatory bout," Valcarcel said. "[Flanagan] is the fight he has next. If Verdejo doesn't want to fight Flanagan now, then we'll take away his mandatory status. In that case, Flanagan would fight the next highest ranked contender available."
If the fight does not end up happening, then the next possible contender would likely be Raymundo Beltran. Beltran has had three attempts to win the WBO title, but he drew against Ricky Burns in 2013, lost to Terence Crawford in 2014 and had a no contest against Takahiro Ao in 2015.
Verdejo and Arum was working on negotiating a fight with Flanagan for late last year, but a motorcycle accident back in August left him hospitalized for a few days and unable to fight Flanagan. Verdejo came back with a unanimous decision win over Oliver Flores on February 3. Verdejo is currently the WBO Latino lightweight titleholder.
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