By Jake Donovan
Plans are in place for Joan Guzman’s next ring appearance. The unbeaten former two-division champion will return on December 15. Whom exactly he will face will all depend on the best deal that can be reached in the next few days.
Negotiations have been underway for several weeks to secure a fight with unbeaten Russian contender Khabib Allakhverdiev (17-0, 8KO). The two sides have attempted to close a deal, which would have sent Guzman (33-0-1, 20KO) to Russia for a crack at a vacant 140 lb. title.
The fight will now go to purse bid. Guzman’s handlers are confident that they will win the bid and have already secured a location and network for the event.
“Our plan is to win the purse bid and bring the fight to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel in (Hollywood,) Florida,” said Jose Nunez, Guzman’s longtime manager. “We’re looking at December 15, with the bout to air live on Wealth TV.”
The initial offer made by Allakhverdiev’s team - $100,000 - prompted Guzman to look elsewhere for its next opportunity in the event that the title fight fell through. A follow-up offer by Allakhverdiev was more substantial, but still well short of proving enticing enough to send Guzman overseas.
Calls were made to Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan, both of whom plan to return in December and neither of whom presently have opponents. Pacquiao’s handlers were initially receptive but had second thoughts. Khan was more receptive to the offer, but has since hesitated to say yes to the fight.
Guzman’s career has been plagued by inactivity and weight issues. The Dominican standout has endured a more active schedule as of late, fighting three times since returning to the ring last November. The goal is to keep him as active as possible, with a title shot serving as a double bonus.
“We wanted the Khan fight, but we also don’t want to wait around if he decides to go in another direction,” Nunez stated. “Our promoter Henry Rivalta has every intention of winning the purse bid for the fight with the Russian kid. The fight will headline the WBA ‘KO Drugs’ Festival in Florida, the first time it will take place outside of Panama.
“We’re planning a big night; Guzman fighting for the title would make the event that much bigger.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox