By Miguel Rivera
As BoxingScene.com first reported a few days ago, the World Boxing Organization sent a letter to Billy Joe Saunders' promoter Frank Warren, that he needs to make a mandatory defense against David Lemieux of Canada.
The sanctioning organization said Warren and Golden Boy have 30 days to make a deal - by November 9. If they can not make a deal by then, a purse bid will be ordered. Although if one of the parties is not satisfied with the negotiating process, they can request an immediate purse bid date. The minimum bid would be $200,000.
If the fight goes to a purse bid or the parties make a deal, the fight will probably be worth much more than the minimum bid amount with Saunders as the champion, he has the right to receive 70 percent of the winning bid and Lemieux would get the remaining 30 percent.
Lemieux's promoter, Eric Gomez of Golden Boy Promotions, is hoping to get a deal done as soon as possible but admits that it could take some time.
"We got the letter from WBO and Frank Warren contacted me in an email and I replied, so we have started the dialogue and we will continue to talk. We have started negotiating," Gomez told ESPN Deportes.
Lemieux was hoping to land a fight with junior middleweight titlist Miguel Cotto, who is preparing for what he announced will be his final fight on Dec. 2 (HBO) at Madison Square Garden in New York.
However, Cotto did not want to move up to 160 pounds and his trainer, Hall of Famer Freddie Roach, did not like the fight for Cotto either. In addition, Lemieux was unable to get below 160 pounds.
At that point, Gomez said there was some discussion about a Lemieux fight on Cotto's undercard. But the fight with Saunders would be too costly to put there. Gomez would like to make the fight for December 16, but it seems more realistic - based on that date being about two months away - for early next year.
"We can not do it on that card. It's too expensive," Gomez said. "Frank has the champion so he'll make us an offer, he'll probably want to do the fight in the UK, depending on the offer, we're going to respond and we'll discuss it with David, but it's a good fight for HBO. Peter (Nelson, executive vice president of HBO Sports) is interested," Gomez said.
"We have 30 days to negotiate a deal and then if they call for a purse bid it would take place within two weeks after the 30 days. So, from the date of the purse bid it's 90 days to put the fight together so we're looking at it, maybe February or March. But David is ready to fight in December, so that will be part of our conversation with Frank. Everything is open to discussion and negotiation. "
Saunders (25-0, 12 KOs), 28-years-old, won a 160 pound belt by majority decision against Andy Lee in December 2015 and has made two defenses, one against Artur Akavov in December and another against Willie Monroe Jr. on September 16.
Lemieux (38-3, 33 KOs), 28, of Montreal, is a dangerous puncher. He has won four straight fights since being stopped by Gennady Golovkin in the eighth round in October 2015. In March, Lemieux scored a third-round knockout of Curtis Stevens in a contender for knockout of the year, and then followed that up with a 10-round decision victory against Marcos Reyes on May 6 on Canelo Alvarez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. undercard.