By Rick Reeno
Contrary to some of the reports being printed, Celestino Caballero's promoter Leon Margules tells BoxingScene.com that a unification bout with Juan Manuel Lopez has never been offered by Top Rank. Margules was angered by a few reports that claimed Caballero's team had priced themselves out by requesting too much money. Caballero sat ringside on Saturday at the WaMu Threater in Madison Square Garden, and watched Lopez pull out a very tough decision over Rogers Mtagwa. Top Rank's Bob Arum told numerous media outlets that $150,000 was on the table for Caballero to fight Lopez on January 23 in Puerto Rico. That offer, according to Margules, was never made to him.
"The kid comes in and asks for tickets to the fight. And they [Top Rank] agree - but why would you seat him in 203 and not ringside where the guy can be seen? Because you have no intention of getting in the ring with him because you know your guy is going to get beat. He [Arum] never made me an offer. Nobody [from Top Rank] made me an offer," Margules said. "He has no intention to fight Caballero because he is afraid of him."
Arum named two possible options for Lopez in January, Steven Luevano and Elio Rojas, who are both featherweight champions. Margules is confident that a fight with Caballero is less expensive than Arum's options of Luevano and Rojas.
"The best opponent that the fans want to see him fight is Caballero, and he is also the most reasonably priced. Do you think [Luevano's manager] Cameron Dunkin is going to send Luevano will to Puerto Rico for less money? Do you think Don King [Rojas' promoter] will? They haven't offered anything. The best deal that can be made is Caballero," Margules said.
"How do you know what I want? I haven't accepted anything because no offer has been made, but maybe I will accept. But no offer has been made so what's the difference."
Arum brought up another issue, and Margules threw in another solution. Lopez, according to Arum, had issues with making the super bantamweight limit for the Mtagwa fight. He told reporters that Lopez will move up in his next fight. Margules is willing to let Arum pick the weight, whether it be featherweight, super featherweight or lightweight. In order to build Lopez into another Miguel Cotto, Margules says the Puerto Rican champion will need a career defining fight.
"Whatever he wants the weight to be - we'll fight at. Featherweight, welterweight, it doesn't matter. We want the fight but nobody has made me an offer. I know Bob is in a difficult position because I know his fighter doesn't really want this fight and I can understand why - because he is going to get beat," Margules said.
"I'll tell you this; based on the crowd that attended this fight, Lopez needs a career defining fight. There were 3100 people and John Duddy [who was on the undercard] used to draw 4000 by himself. He needs a career defining win and the only career defining win is Caballero - if he can beat him."
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