By Rick Reeno
Serge Martirosyan, the manager and uncle of junior middleweight contender Vanes Martirosyan (32-0, 20KOs), says his nephew signed a contract three weeks ago to face Cuban boxer Erislandy Lara (17-1-1, 11KOs) in a final WBC eliminator on November 10th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas - as part of Manny Pacquiao's HBO pay-per-view undercard.
According to Serge, Lara has not signed his end of the agreement.
On July 20th, the World Boxing Council held a mandatory purse bid for Vanes-Lara. Top Rank, who promote Vanes, placed a winning bid of $405,000 to secure the rights. The winner will become the mandatory challenger to the upcoming fight between champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and challenger Josesito Lopez, which takes place on September 15th at the MGM Grand.
Serge believes Lara is trying to secure a direct title shot, likely against WBA "regular" champion Austin Trout, instead of taking part in the eliminator.
He doesn't fully fault Lara, because the WBC refused to stipulate a clause that legally binds Canelo to fight the winner. Without that binder, neither boxer is confident that a victory will guarantee a fight with Canelo.
"I said this months ago when we first had the problem with the WBC, that we should have a binder to show that the winner is going to fight Canelo. I was saying that for them too. Instead of backing us up, [Lara's camp] came out and said Vanes was scared. And now they are saying the same thing that I was saying three, four months ago," Serge told BoxingScene.com.
"They are looking for a straight title shot and I don't blame them. If we had the chance right now to get a straight title shot - we would take it in a heartbeat, instead of fighting Lara and not knowing if we'll fight Canelo. I don't blame him for looking for a straight title shot. At the same time, we signed like three weeks and they haven't signed it yet. We'll see what happens."