By Rick Reeno
The wheels are turning to finalize a potential junior middleweight eliminator, as ordered by the WBC, between top contenders Erislandy Lara (16-1-1, 11KOs) and Vanes Martirosyan (32-0, 20KOs). The winner becomes the mandatory challenger to the title currently held by Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (39-0-1, 29KOs), who defends his belt at the MGM Grand on May 5th against former three division champion "Sugar" Shane Mosley.
Lara, through his manager Luis DeCubas Jr., immediately advised Golden Boy Promotions to make the fight. Golden Boy's CEO, Richard Schaefer, had a positive conversation with Top Rank's President Todd duBoef.
"[Lara and his team] made it clear to me that they want to do the fight and I picked up the phone and I called Todd," Schaefer told BoxingScene.com.
"It's an interesting fight and I know the networks are interested in that fight. That's why I discussed it with Todd and we made an offer."
Vanes, who returns on June 16th as part of the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.-Andy Lee undercard, is not pleased with the WBC's decision. Earlier this week, the boxer's uncle and manager, Serge Martirosyan, voiced his displeasure.
"Vanes has been going through this with the WBC for two years now. He's been fighting eliminators, semi-eliminators and now they've come back with this Lara thing. Again, we'll fight all of the Laras in the world - if we get it in writing, a 100% guarantee, that the winner will get Canelo," Serge told BoxingScene.com.
Initially, the WBC ordered Vanes to fight James Kirkland, who defeated Carlos Molina in a March semi-eliminator. However, Kirkland suffered a shoulder injury in that fight and he recently underwent surgery. Because Kirkland [ranked at 2] is unavailable, the WBC ordered Vanes [ranked at 1] to fight Lara [ranked at 3].
"I hope the fight is going to happen. They ordered it before, the Kirkland fight with Martirosyan. Kirkland got injured and he's not available. It's a logical thing [for the WBC to place in Lara]. Just because Kirkland is not available, you don't just cancel the entire thing," Schaefer said.
"They were okay with doing that final eliminator when the name was Kirkland. Now when the name is Lara, suddenly there are question marks. But I had a very positive conversation with Todd. I'm waiting to hear back from them to see if the fight can get done."
If the two sides are unable to reach an agreement, the eliminator might head to purse bid.