By Jake Donovan
A petition filed by Warriors Boxing for their fighter, Rances Barthelemy to receive a 50-50 purse split in his forthcoming 130 lb. title fight rematch with Argenis Mendez was rejected by the International Boxing Federation (IBF) on Friday.
“A majority of the (IBF Board of Directors) voted to maintain the purse bid splits provided for in rule 10.E,” IBF President Daryl Peoples informed promoter Leon Margules of Warriors Boxing, in a letter obtained by Boxingscene.com.
Rule 10.E of the IBF's Championship Policy reads as follows:
The Champion will receive 75% and the Challenger will receive 25% of total amount of the bid. If the offer is for a vacant title, each boxer will receive 50% of the total amount bid. The percentage splits for elimination bouts and box offs are governed by Rule 9D. In a bout between a Champion and a Challenger ranked #3 or below, the Champion shall receive 85% and the Challenger will receive 15% of the total amount of the bid.
Notwithstanding the purse bid percentages described herein, if the circumstances so warrant, the Championships Chairman or the President may make a recommendation to the Board of Directors that a different purse bid split be employed. Any variation in the purse bid percentages from those set forth in this rule must be approved by a majority vote of the Board of Directors.
Margules filed a petition with the IBF in the event that the negotiated rematch between Barthelemy and Mendez goes to purse bid, which is likely to be the case. Well before the IBF reached its decision, the appeal was immediately met with a request from Mendez’ team for the fight to go straight to purse bid rather than wait for the current March 3 deadline.
The IBF ordered a rematch on the grounds of the controversial ending to their first fight last month, in which Barthelemy was initially ruled a winner by 2nd round knockout to win the title, despite the fight-ending blows landing after the bell to end the round. Enough evidence was found by the Minnesota Combat Sports Commission–who oversaw the contest, which took place in Minneapolis—to overturn the verdict, changing the official outcome to a No-Decision.
The ruling was significant in that Mendez was reinstated as champion as a result. The first fight ended up going to a purse bid, won by Warriors Boxing, considered an investment for its fighter.
Because of the reversed outcome of the fight, Barthelemy–while still an undefeated fighter–will once again wind up with the lesser portion of the winning submitted purse bid.
Their bout served as the main event of the 2014 season premiere of ESPN2’s Friday Night Fight series. Very little progress has been made in securing the rematch, with a date, venue and TV rights hardly at the forefront of discussion at the moment.
Mendez (21-2-1-1ND, 11KO) won the title with a 4th round knockout of Juan Carlos Salgado in their rematch last March. The Dominican boxer has two official title defenses to his name, but has yet to score a win since actually claiming the title.
His first defense came last August, as he was held to a controversial 12-round draw by challenger Arash Usmanee. The bout served as the 2013 season finale for Friday Night Fights, placing Usmanee in the unique situation of having fought in the finale and the season opener. The opening bout of the series’ 2013 season came against none other than Barthelemy, who claimed a highly disputed unanimous decision in their semi-final eliminator.
Barthelemy’s lone bout not drenched in controversy within the past 15 months came in his 2nd round knockout of Fahsai Sakkreerin last June, which also aired on ESPN2. The win made the unbeaten Cuban the mandatory challenger to Mendez’ title, but was forced to wait seven months for his actual title shot.
He will now have to wait at least until either negotiations reach a satisfactory conclusion or the fight goes to official purse bid. Through it all, what was initially ruled as the biggest win of his career in the ring, has resulted in two major setbacks outside the ropes, first with the No-Decision verdict and now his unsuccessful appeal to secure a higher payday than his mandatory challenger status will allow.
The decision made by the IBF marks the second appeal this week rejected by the New Jersey-based sanctioning organization, both decisions coming in consecutive days. A request made by super middleweight contender George Groves to have the outcome of his fight with Carl Froch last November changed from a knockout loss to a No-Contest was denied on Thursday.
A reverse in the ruling would have reinstated Groves as the mandatory challenger, which would have meant a 75-25 split. Instead, the loss bumped him down below mandatory ranking, which means he would receive the lesser end of an 85-15 split had his ordered rematch with Froch gone to purse bid.
The move was viewed as an insurance policy in the event that the Brit couldn't come to terms with his countryman. However, the matter proved moot as both sides have come to terms, with May 31 as the likely date for their rematch.
For the moment, fate isn't quite as kind to Barthelemy, who is forced to play the waiting game for a title he believes should already be in his possession.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox