By Jake Donovan
With the deadline having expired to negotiate terms between 154 lb. titlist Carlos Molina and mandatory challenger Cornelius Bundrage, the International Boxing Federation (IBF) will now move towards ordering a purse bid hearing.
“The purse bid will be called for today and ordered to take place on June 24,” IBF spokesperson Jeanette Salazar confirmed to BoxingScene.com.
Under normal circumstances, the purse bid hearing takes place 10 days upon its ordering by the IBF. Given that June 20 is on a Friday, it was decided by the New Jersey-based sanctioning body to extend to the following Tuesday.
The fight must take place by no later than September 24, as per the 90-day window from the time of the winning bid.
Where exactly that fight can take place, isn’t quite as cut and dry.
Molina (22-5-2, 6KO) won the title with a 12-round split decision over Ishe Smith last September, on the pay-per-view televised undercard of Floyd Mayweather’s win over Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. The show went on to become the highest grossing event in boxing history, but Molina’s win over Smith was not among the evening’s bright spots.
Still, it was good enough for Molina to claim a major title after 10 years of a hard-luck career. Attempts to make his first title defense in March were thwarted, however, when he was arrested days before a scheduled voluntary title fight versus unbeaten Jermall Charlo due to an outstanding warrant dating back to 2007.
The arrest stemmed from charges of failing to register as a sex offender in his adopted home state of Wisconsin, to where his family moved from Mexico when he was four years old. Molina was arrested in 2001 on charges of statutory rape, having consensual sex with two teenage girls. His sentence was limited to time serves plus three years probation.
When it was learned that he never registered as a sex offender, a warrant for his arrest in 2007. Why it took seven years to find him remains a mystery, but he was released on bond posted by his promoter, Leon Margules and the warrant thought to have been straightened out in time to proceed with the Charlo fight.
Another issue surfaced, however, as he was also wanted by immigration. Molina was deported back to Mexico, where he is presently training for his upcoming title fight. For the moment, he is not allowed to fight in the United States, unless his legal team is able to work out an exception with immigration, which is not out of the realm of possibility, but also hardly guaranteed.
Molina entered training camp of the belief his voluntary title fight with Charlo would be rescheduled for July in Mexico. However, the IBF denied an exception request placed by Margules and adviser Al Haymon, insisting that he must first defend against his mandatory challenger – Bundrage - given the amount of time that has elapsed from when Molina won the title and the nine-month period a champion is normally required to make his mandatory title defense.
Bundrage (33-5, 19KO) served as champ for roughly 2 ½ years before losing the belt to Smith last February in his hometown of Detroit, Mich. The squat super welterweight rebounded with a resounding points win over Joey Hernandez in January, coming three months prior to his 41st birthday.
The win came with a paltry payday of $6,600, or 60% of the winning purse bid amount of $11,000 submitted by Golden Boy Promotions, who aired the fight on Showtime’s ShoBox series.
The minimum acceptable bid for an IBF 154 lb. title fight between defending champion and mandatory challenger is $100,000. The winning bid must also be accompanied by a 10% non-refundable deposit and submitted either in person at the time of the hearing, or arrive by certified or registered mail. A targeted date and location must also be specified by the promoter, with the fight to take place no later than 90 days from the time of the purse bid hearing.
Given the lack of guarantee that Molina’s promoter will get to promote the fight or control where it takes place, it’s imperative for the fighter and his team to prepare for any given scenario. Otherwise, Molina runs the risk of losing the title without ever having the chance to have defended in the ring.
“The promoter that wins the purse bid will have 90 days from the date of the bid to put on the fight wherever they choose,” IBF Ratings Chairman Daryl Peoples clarified. “If the fight takes place outside of Mexico and Molina is unable to travel, he will be considered unavailable and the title will be vacated. We would then order the two leading available contenders to fight for the vacant title.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox