Fightful Boxing Newsletter (7/11/2019): Canelo Alvarez Update, Latest On Ruiz vs. Joshua 2, Weekend Preview

Fightful Boxing Newsletter (7/11/2019) Table Of Contents:

  1. The Latest On Canelo Alvarez: Is His IBF Title Reign Over? (Page 1)
  2. Andy Ruiz Jr. vs. Anthony Joshua 2 Update (Page 2)
  3. Weekend Preview (Page 3)
  4. WBA’s Junior Middleweight Title Mess (Page 4)
Sean O'Connell Hopeful For Kayla Harrison's Future With PFL: "No One Values Her More Than The Professional Fighters League Does"

The Latest On Canelo Alvarez: Is His IBF Title Reign Over?

The IBF has told Fightful that it has now ordered middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez and mandatory challenger Sergiy Derevyanchenko to have a purse bid later this month.

The purse bid is scheduled to take place at the IBF offices in Springfield, New Jersey on July 23. The purse bid date was sent out to both parties earlier today and the news adds another wrinkle to the mystery that is Alvarez’s next fight, tentatively scheduled for September 14. The IBF had ordered Alvarez to face Derevyanchenko nearly two months ago, but negotiations between the two sides have been almost nonexistent.

Alvarez and promoter Golden Boy Promotions have been negotiating with a number of boxers for the Mexican star’s next fight, the fourth in a multi-year deal with DAZN. Alvarez had been linked to potential fights with the likes of Gennadiy Golovkin, WBO middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade, WBO junior middleweight champion Jaime Munguia, WBA super middleweight champion Callum Smith and WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev.

This isn’t the first time Derevyanchenko has been the subject of an IBF middleweight title fight being ordered. Back in 2017, Derevyanchenko became the mandatory challenger for the IBF title, but when the organization ordered Golovkin, the IBF champion at the time, to fight him in 2018, Golovkin chose to fight Alvarez in a rematch last September.

Golovkin was then stripped of the IBF title and the sanctioning body ordered Derevyanchenko to fight Daniel Jacobs for the vacant belt. Jacobs narrowly beat Derevyanchenko by split decision last October at Madison Square Garden, but Alvarez would go on to beat Jacobs this past May. In the meantime, Derevyanchenko would go on to beat Jack Culcay in another title eliminator on April 13.

Should Alvarez decide to pursue any other fight, the IBF would have no problem stripping him of its middleweight title like it did with Golovkin a year ago. If that were to happen, or if Alvarez vacates the IBF title, Derevyanchenko would fight the next highest-ranked available contender, which would actually be Golovkin, for the vacant belt. With a potential trilogy fight against Alvarez possibly not happening next, Golovkin would have to explore other options, which might now include facing Derevyanchenko for the vacant IBF belt.

As it stands, Alvarez’s No. 1 priority for an opponent is Kovalev. However, even with Alvarez and Golden Boy Promotions wanting Kovalev next, the fact of the matter is that the offers sent to Kovalev and promoter Main Events are still way too low for their liking.

The Kovalev camp want at least $12 million for the fight, which is what Jacobs got when he fought Alvarez in May. The issue with $12 million, from the Alvarez side at least, is that in order to fully get Kovalev on board, that $12 million will actually be closer to maybe $15-18 million given that GBP and DAZN will have to not only pay Kovalev but also Top Rank, who brought Kovalev on board months ago after HBO Boxing folded, mandatory challenger Anthony Yarde and Yarde’s promoter Frank Warren. With all that considered, both sides are still several millions apart from reaching a deal and if things continue like this, an Alvarez-Kovalev fight won't happen this September.

Alvarez also holds the WBA’s “Super” version of the middleweight title, which he won when he defeated Golovkin in September 2018. Alvarez also held the WBC title up until a few weeks ago after being elevated to Franchise champion, meaning interim titleholder Jermall Charlo would be the sole WBC world champion at 160 pounds.

Andy Ruiz Jr. vs. Anthony Joshua 2 Update:

By now, the boxing world should have known the details of the rematch between Andy Ruiz Jr. and Anthony Joshua, but there have been some minor complications that have prevented the fight from being finalized.

Presently, three dates have been narrowed down for the highly-anticipated rematch: November 29 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, December 7 at Madison Square Garden and December 14 at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. For all intents and purposes, those are still the dates and venues being considered, but there have been some last minute interest for other dates and locations.

While, that info hasn’t been publicly available, it still looks like, barring any major updates at the 11th hour, New York City and Cardiff are the favorites. If DAZN stands to get the most out of the rematch and get as many new subscribers as possible, then the smart choice would be to have the fight in late November at Madison Square Garden.

Given how football dominates the last four months of the calendar year, putting the rematch on December 7 would run the risk of severely hurting the viewership. The reason being is that December 7 falls on the same day as multiple college football conference championships, which usually draws solid television ratings on multiple networks. November 29, however, is not a major college football night and the perfect night for the event.

Putting the fight on December 14, or any date for that matter, in Cardiff already hurts the viewership. It’s been proven time and time again that more people are willing to tune in for a boxing fight in primetime compared to the afternoon. Even with the fight being available on demand immediately and able to watch later that night, it’s the live viewership that matters the most.

The only other venue that could potentially make sense for the fight would be Las Vegas. Even with more and more major boxing cards taking place outside of Nevada, Las Vegas still provides the largest financial reward for all parties involved. It’s strange how no venue in Vegas has stepped up for the rematch, but given how much Madison Square Garden seemed to be the only U.S. venue Joshua would want to have the rematch, one would think Las Vegas figured no other venue in the country stands much of a chance to attract the heavyweight rematch.

Given DAZN’s gradually increasing viewership, the streaming service will look to take every advantage it can to make sure the rematch has the biggest return on investment. Of course, nothing is set in stone and I would expect an announcement on the fight by the end of the month. There is still plenty of time to finalize the fight, but getting the word out as soon as possible will look to keep the momentum alive and with the proper marketing, DAZN can have the biggest subscriber jump for a non-Canelo Alvarez fight since it was released in the United States less than a year ago.

Weekend Preview:

Matchroom Boxing Italy on DAZN Preview (July 11, 1:30 p.m. ET on DAZN): It’s rare that DAZN has boxing on Thursdays, but Matchroom Boxing Italy is looking to capitalize on being the only big card in what is a very busy three-day period of fights. Of course, it is a Matchroom Boxing Italy card, so only hardcore fans will even care about this show. The top fight on the card is a middleweight bout between Emanuele Blandamura and Marcus Morrison. There’s nothing big on this card and Blandamura is almost 40 years old and way past his prime. Even if Morrison looks good against Morrison, it really doesn’t mean that he would be anywhere close to a big fight. This show usually has one or two noteworthy fights that are decently entertaining, but chances are, you wouldn’t be missing anything too groundbreaking on this show.

Amir Khan vs. Billy Dib Preview (July 12, 4 p.m. ET on Channel 5 in the United Kingdom): Much like WWE’s shows in Saudi Arabia, this event amounts to just being a spectacle that will ultimately have virtually zero impact on boxing overall. The main event will feature a past-his-prime Amir Khan facing Billy Dib, who fought at super featherweight less than one year ago. It’s hard to envision this being an entertaining fight, but there are some stakes added to the fight, which is a top five positioning in the WBC welterweight rankings. There’s a reason why no American broadcaster is even showing the event and that is the subpar quality of the card itself. The co-main event is a heavyweight bout between Hughie Fury and a 38-year-old Samuel Peter, which figures to be a subpar fight and an easy win for Fury. There is one fight that is at least halfway decent and that is a Lerato Dlamini and Dave Penalosa for the WBC Silver featherweight title and will likely end up being the best bout on the whole show. The winner of the fight could potentially move into the top 10 of the WBC featherweight rankings and become a dark horse for getting a title shot in 2020.

Rob Brant vs. Ryota Murata Preview (July 12, 7 a.m. ET on ESPN+): This might end up being one of the best cards of the weekend due to its two world title fights. The first is a WBC light flyweight title bout between Ken Shiro and Jonathan Taconing. While Shiro is a big favorite in this fight, he is still one of the most entertaining world champions in the lower weights and given his size advantage over Taconing, Shiro might be looking to go for an explosive knockout early in the fight. The main event is a rematch between Rob Brant and Ryota Murata for the WBA “Regular” middleweight title. Sure, the title itself shouldn’t even exist, but that is a different story for another day. Brant dominated Murata last October to win the title. Given how Murata bounced back from his pro loss to Hassan N’Dam in 2017, expect Murata to be a much more aggressive fighter from the start and find a way to neutralize Brant’s volume punching. Rarely do title rematches end up being significantly better than the first fight, but in this case, it’s hard to envision it not being a much more action-packed fight. Even with all the big fights this weekend, this fight has the makings to be the most exciting slugfest of the weekend.

Daniel Dubois vs. Nathan Gorman Preview (July 13, 2:45 p.m. ET on ESPN+): Top to bottom, this is one of the best non-major boxing shows in the United Kingdom in a very long time. Even with no world title fights on the card, the level of depth on this card is deep given the number of top prospects competing. In the main event, Daniel Dubois and Nathan Gorman will face each other for the vacant British heavyweight title in what is a rare fight between unbeaten prospects. Fights like these are incredibly rare in the United States and far more common in the United Kingdom due to how much more popular the sport is over there. A fight between prospects still fetches a solid payday for all parties involved and people realize that one loss doesn’t hurt their credibility too much and can easily be recovered. The winner of the fight isn’t going to be an immediate world title contender, but takes a big step forward into their career. As for the other noteworthy fights on the undercard, Joe Joyce will face former world title challenger Bryant Jennings for the WBA Gold heavyweight title. Joyce is on the verge of becoming a title contender and already owns a win over former champion Bermane Stiverne earlier this year and a win over Jennings would be another solid resume booster. Other fighters on the card are Liam Williams, Archie Sharp and Sunny Edwards all competing in separate bouts.

Rey Vargas vs. Tomoki Kameda Preview (July 13, 7 p.m. ET on DAZN): The WBC super bantamweight title is on the line when Rey Vargas and Tomoki Kameda meet in the main event in what is a very solid main event. Vargas is by far the tallest champion in the division, but Kameda is probably the toughest opponent Vargas has faced throughout his reign. Vargas has had issues with getting cut throughout his career and has been knocked down in the past, both things that will bode well for Kameda. The winner of the fight will more than likely be ordered to fight mandatory challenger Guillermo Rigondeaux next. Other card bouts include a potentially solid fight between Diego De La Hoya and Ronny Rios and highly-touted prospects Joet Gonzalez and Eduardo “Rocky” Hernandez competing in separate bouts. Overall, there is a lot to like about this fight, but given that it is competing directly with various other boxing cards, the show might get lost in the shuffle for a lot of boxing fans.

Shakur Stevenson vs. Alberto Guevara Preview (July 13, 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN): The build to this event has been very strange in regards to the main event. Originally, Shakur Stevenson was supposed to fight Hairon Socarras, but Socarras withdrew from the fight. Then, it was announced that Stevenson would fight former title challenger Franklin Manzanilla, but then Manzanilla fell through as an opponent. Now Stevenson will face Alberto Guevara, a decent enough of a name for a third opponent, but it hardly mattered as Stevenson was heavily favored against all three opponents. With a win, Stevenson could be next in line for a WBO featherweight title shot as he is the No. 1 contender in the WBO rankings. The co-main event is an IBF bantamweight title eliminator between Joshua Greer Jr. and Nikolai Potapov where the winner is ranked No. 2 by the governing body.

WBA’s Junior Middleweight Title Mess:

The WBA is looking to create an interim junior middleweight title with a previously-announced fight between Erislandy Lara and Ramon Alvarez set to take place next month.

The announcement came from the organization, which looks to create an impromptu four-man tournament of sorts to resolve its secondary 154-pound title situation in the aftermath of Brian Castano being stripped of the WBA “Regular” title. The fight between Lara and Alvarez will take place on August 31 and will be part of the televised portion of a PBC on FOX card.

When Castano’s belt was stripped after a fight against mandatory challenger Michel Soro fell through, the WBA initially ordered Soro to face Lara, who once held the WBA’s “Super” version of the title which is currently being held by Julian Williams, for the vacant belt. By the time the WBA order for Lara and Soro was made on June 24, Lara was already booked to fight Alvarez, ranked No. 9 by the sanctioning body at junior middleweight.

On June 25, Univent Promotions, the company that promotes Soro, requested the WBA to approve a potential fight for the vacant “Regular” title between Soro and Magomed Kurbanov. The Soro vs. Kurbanov fight is set to take place on July 20. The winner of the two title bouts will then have 120 days after August 31 to face each other for the WBA “Regular” junior middleweight belt.

Should that future fight fail to immediately create a fight deal and go to a purse bid, the “Regular” champion will receive 55 percent of the winning bid while the interim titleholder will receive the remaining 45 percent.

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