By Jake Donovan
Juan Carlos Salgado and his handlers thought they could get the best of both worlds – a high profile optional defense prior to satisfying their alphabet mandatory challenger obligations. It’s now unclear when or whom the 130 lb. titlist will next face.
Plans for a November 17 showdown with unbeaten Yuriorkis Gamboa are now in jeopardy, on the heels of TMT Promotions – Gamboa’s promoter for a brief time - closing up shop before the company ever had a chance to dig its heels into a show.
Salgado (26-1-1, 16KO) had until November 28 to secure and complete an optional defense before proceeding with his mandatory title fight rematch with Argenis Mendez, which is due by January 28. The two-time alphabet titlist was already in negotiations to face Gamboa mere days after his 12-round points win over Jonathan Barros in August.
The plan was for TMT Promotions – the short-lived promotional company owned by 50 Cent (Curtis Jackson) – to package the fight with a super middleweight showdown between Andre Dirrell and Brian Magee. The doubleheader was to air on Showtime.
However, those plans fell apart once Jackson declared to be done with the boxing business earlier this month. The proposed bout between Dirrell and Magee became a non-starter the moment it was announced that Magee would instead face Mikkel Kessler for a vacant title later this year.
Hope was reserved for Salgado to still face Gamboa, regardless of promotional affiliation. However, the lack of a secure deal in place has left the titlist’s handlers to instead look in another direction.
“TMT Promotions didn’t deliver (a) contract (for) Juan Carlos Salgado vs. Yuriorkis Gamboa,” noted Oswalde Kuchle, who handles Salgado’s career. “I believe the November 17 TV date is no longer available.”
An optional defense is still being sought within that time frame for Salgado before proceeding with plans for a rematch with Mendez early next year.
“Salgado will consider other offers we have on the table, including the TV date on Mexican network Televisa,” informed Kuchle.
Salgado rose to fame after scoring a shocking first-round knockout of then-unbeaten Jorge Linares in Oct. ’09. He lost in his first defense - a 12th round knockout loss to Takashi Uchiyama in their Jan. ’10 thriller – but re-emerged in the title picture with his off-the-canvas split decision win over Mendez in their vacant 130 lb. title fight last September.
Three defenses of the crown have since followed. All have taken place in Salgado’s native Mexico, the likely destination of his next defense now that a fight with Gamboa is no longer on the table.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox