by David P. Greisman
The coming bout between junior middleweight Anthony Mundine and long-former titleholder Bronco McKart is part of cable network WealthTV’s plan to hitch its proverbial horse to a fighter that network executives believe can beat Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“At the beginning of 2012, WealthTV’s boxing programming team asked itself a simple question: Who can beat Mayweather?” said WealthTV President Charles P. Herring, speaking to BoxingScene.com via email. “We embarked on a long and at times very heated discussion seeking the potential boxer at 154 pounds that has a legitimate shot at beating Mayweather.
“Our mission for the July card,” he said, “is to feature the guy who will be the first to defeat Mayweather, assuming Mayweather vs. Pacquiao never takes place.”
Mundine-McKart will take place in Las Vegas on July 14, airing on the network, which has also shown Guillermo Jones’ cruiserweight bout last year against Mike Marrone and, most recently, aired the Delaware card this past weekend that was to have featured the heavyweight fight between Mike Mollo and Franklin.
Herring said the network executives pared down their list of names that could potentially beat Mayweather to a handful of fighters.
“Cotto didn’t make the list, and the day before the fight the odds at the MGM were 5.25 to 1, showing the world what the boxing community knew — Cotto wasn’t up for the challenge,” Herring said. “After a long search involving a number of promoters and boxing experts, our search took us to Australia. We locked our sights on Anthony Mundine.”
WealthTV sought to put on a fight between Mundine and 154-pound titleholder Austin Trout that the World Boxing Association had mandated to take place, sending an attorney and a promoter to Panama City for the purse bid proceedings, he said.
The network’s representatives had a check “for an amount substantially over the minimum bid of $150,000,” Herring said. “WealthTV was the only bidder present for the purse bid and had all necessary paperwork and a check in hand.”
Yet the WBA, which on its website described the WealthTV check as “a very generous offer,” declined the network representative’s bid, saying “he could not participate as he is not a registered promoter.”
Herring takes issue with that statement.
“I can assure you that our representative, an attorney by trade and a licensed promoter, had all the necessary paperwork and substantial check in hand that was authorized by me, and the funds were provided by me. Paperwork items were reviewed days in advance by our attorney representative and the WBA.”
Nevertheless, Trout will now be fighting June 2 on Showtime against Delvin Rodriguez. And Mundine will be fighting McKart on WealthTV in July.
The network has brought on board Las Vegas promoter Vlad Warton, whose connections in Australia could potentially bring Mundine to the United States and who could put on a show in the same city in which Mayweather lives.
WealthTV, Herring says, is “determined to feature Mundine in Mayweather’s backyard, regardless of price.
“As they say, Mundine is knocking, and with the fight in Las Vegas, we know Mayweather is home — the only question is ‘Will Mayweather hide or answer the door?’ If Mayweather is more interested in money than taking on the best fighters, then so be it,” Herring said.
“The two most capable opponents for Mayweather are outside of the United States,” he said. “One, who is well known, is in the Philippines, and the other in Australia. Either fight will solidify Mayweather’s career as the best in the world should he prove to be victorious.”
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter at twitter.com/fightingwords2 or on Facebook at facebook.com/fightingwordsboxing, or send questions and comments to [email protected]