By Keith Idec
Only one company, Headbangers Promotions, bid Tuesday for the right to promote a Lamont Peterson-Zab Judah junior welterweight title fight ordered by the IBF.
Headbangers Promotions, out of Washington, D.C., won with a bid of $50,000, the minimum allowed by the Springfield, N.J.-based IBF. Headbangers Promotions is operated by the family of Barry Hunter, who trains Peterson and saved the boxer and his younger brother, lightweight Anthony Peterson, from Washington’s streets when they were abandoned children.
The move was widely viewed by boxing insiders as Hunter’s insurance policy in the event a Lamont Peterson-Timothy Bradley rematch doesn’t come to fruition.
Negotiations for Bradley-Peterson II were ongoing Tuesday night and Peterson remains the No. 1 option on the short list of Top Rank Inc., Bradley’s promoter. If it is completed, Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KOs) and Bradley (29-0, 12 KOs, 1 NC) will fight Dec. 15 at Marlins Park in Miami.
Unbeaten Cuban defector Guillermo Rigondeaux (11-0, 8 KOs), the WBA’s 122-pound champion, might fight in the co-feature that night because the Miami metropolitan area has such an enormous Cuban population. Rigondeaux resides in Miami.
In the main event, Peterson will try to exact revenge against an unbeaten opponent who technically owns a victory over Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs).
Bradley easily defeated Peterson by unanimous decision in their first fight nearly three years ago, but Peterson has since strengthened his resume by upsetting Amir Khan (26-3, 18 KOs). Peterson was scheduled to fight Khan again May 19 in Las Vegas, but he failed a pre-fight test for a performance-enhancing drug (synthetic testosterone) and the HBO main event was canceled.
If the Peterson-Bradley negotiations hit a snag, it is highly unlikely that Peterson and Judah would fight under the 75-25 terms of the winning purse bid ($37,500 for Peterson; $12,500 for Judah). That fight could go back to purse bid if Peterson and Judah don’t agree to terms, but Peterson isn’t expected to explore that option unless the Bradley bout isn’t made.
The 34-year-old Judah (42-7, 29 KOs, 2 NC) lost the IBF belt to England’s Khan in July 2011. Khan lost the IBF title to Peterson by split decision in his next fight, which took place Dec. 10 in Peterson’s adopted hometown of Washington.
Judah became the sanctioning organization’s mandatory challenger at 140 pounds by defeating Detroit’s Vernon Paris (26-1, 15 KOs, 3 NC) in an IBF elimination match March 24 in Judah’s native Brooklyn. Judah stopped Paris in the ninth round.
The former welterweight and junior welterweight champion’s promotional contract with Main Events expired in July.
Judah is a promotional free agent, largely because the joint venture between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and rapper 50 Cent imploded before it promoted a single event. Judah had discussed joining the roster of TMT Promotions with 50 Cent while Mayweather was incarcerated during the summer.
The fact that only the low-budget Headbangers Promotions officially is affiliated with Peterson or Judah at least partially accounted for the lack of interest in Tuesday’s purse bid.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.