By Terence Dooley
The IBF have told BoxingScene that they are going to look into British promoter Dennis Hobson's request to stage Stuart Hall against Paul Butler at Newcastle's Metro Radio Arena on June 7th once all the formalities have been completed. In the meantime, the New Jersey-based governing body last week sent out a notification to Hobson asking him to open negotiations with Randy Caballero, the mandatory challenger for Hall's bantamweight title.
The IBF told me that they would consider Hobson Promotions's request for an exception for this voluntary defence once the $20,000 non-refundable exception fee has been sent through to them. The fee alone does not guarantee an exception; once it has been received the request and reasons for it will be presented to the Board of Directors, who will then make their decision. A majority decision is required to rubber stamp the exception—it means that the winner would be required to face the California-based Caballero, 21-0 (13), in their next title outing.
Exceptions cannot be applied for: ‘Once the IBF/USBA has sent out the notice of the date of the purse bid, or once a contract has been signed for a mandatory bout,’ [IBF Rule 11.A], and the titlist only gets one exception per mandatory obligation. The purse bids for Hall-Caballero have not been set in motion, nor has a date been pencilled in, so Hobson has plenty of time on his side and has made no bones about the fact that this BoxNation-televised fight is awaiting the IBF's final approval.
“It's a procedure you go through where you apply for the exception,” said Hobson when speaking to BoxingScene. “Then they process it. As we said in any of our press releases, it is subject to the IBF approval, so we're not disrespecting the IBF. We just wanted to hold a press conference to say that all parties have agreed to it (the fight). It's just subject to IBF approval, so nothing's changed.”
Hall, 16-2-2 (7), won the vacant belt by beating Vusi Malinga by unanimous decision in December. The 34-year-old defended the belt against Martin Ward in March, but had to endure the frustration of a second-round Technical Draw after an accidental clash of heads left Ward with a gaping cut that later required 15 stitches.
The fighting pride of Darlington hopes to put the disappointment over the premature ending to the Ward fight behind him when he meets the Butler, 25-years-old and 15-0 (8) as a pro. His Liverpool-based challenger is highly rated, but he only moved up from Super flyweight in his last fight—a fourth-round KO over Oreste Bernabe Nieva in March—and is taking on an experienced campaigner in Hall.
It's one of those Experience Vs Youth domestic world title fights that divides fans, with some going for Hall's greater title experience and others arguing that this particular Butler isn't just going to open the door, he is going to take over the whole house and kick the current inhabitant out. Either way, this fight will answer a lot of questions about both boxers.
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