By Rick Reeno
As BoxingScene.com's Jake Donovan reported earlier, Rolando Reyes withdrew from his planned fight with Ali Funeka for the vacant IBF lightweight title. Reyes had no desire to fight Funeka in his country of South Africa. The IBF has offered Reyes' slot to Joan Guzman. It puts both fighters in line to settle the outstanding issue of their controversial match from last November.
I've heard HBO is interested in placing the Funeka-Guzman rematch in the co-feature slot to Marcos Maidana-Victor Cayo on March 27 [in place of Katsidis vs. TBA]. There is one problem, South African promoter Branco Milenkovic, who won the rights to promote Funeka-Reyes with a winning purse bid of $140,000, is claiming that he still owns the rights to stage Funeka's fight for the IBF title. To make matters worse, the IBF has sent letters that back Branco's position.
Branco is the former promoter of Funeka. After Funeka left Branco, he signed a co-promotional agreement with Cedric Kushner and Gary Shaw. The situation doesn't make sense, unless I'm missing something. Because Reyes withdrew, Branco's winning purse bid should no longer be valid and he doesn't have a contract with either of the fighters involved. Until everything is sorted out, the proposed rematch is up in the air.