By Jake Donovan
Super middleweight contenders Donovan George and Librado Andrade will get another chance to do battle in the ring, in the wake of their scheduled December 17 bout in Cozumel, Mexico falling through over a contract dispute which surfaced on fight night.
The good news is that such a fight did not have to be ordered by the International Boxing Federation (IBF), who sanctioned their previously scheduled bout as a title eliminator. The New Jersey-based organization was informed by both parties that negotiations were to resume in their best efforts to reschedule the fight as early as possible into the New Year.
“This eliminates the need for us to act as middlemen,” IBF Ratings Chairman Daryl Peoples stated to Boxingscene.com on Thursday afternoon.
The stance taken by the IBF confirms the insistence of George’s promoter Leon Margules that the sanctioning body stood by his on-site decision to cancel Saturday’s planned main event. The dispute came when – after being promised a 20’ ring as per the terms of the contract with Golden Boy Promotions, who promotes Andrade – the revelation on fight night was a shoebox posing as a 15’ ring.
A compromise was offered by local promoter Pepe Gomez to open up the ring as far as possible, but such efforts would have only added an extra foot of ring space. Doing so would have pushed the ropes to the edge of the ring apron, thus creating a safety hazard.
Margules refused to allow his fighter to enter the ring under such circumstances, and pulled the plug on the fight. The move cost the Florida promoter several thousand dollars, having advanced to George a significant portion of the fighter’s purse, but stands behind his decision. So, too, does the IBF, who referred to the existing contract as justification for keeping both fighters in their current ranking.
The winner will become the mandatory challenger to current champ Lucian Bute of Canada, by way of Romania.
Andrade, born in Mexico but now fighting out of California, has already suffered two losses to the unbeaten titlist, as well as a points loss in a previously failed title bid versus Mikkel Kessler in 2007.
Chicago-based George has never before contended for a major title, nor has he participated in a sanctioned eliminator.
The IBF will not get involved in negotiations unless to the two sides fail to come to terms, in which case a purse bid will be scheduled. The hope is for things to not come to that; the first attempt at staging the fight was signed with the involvement of a purse bid.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]