By Miguel Rivera
Promoter Peter Rivera of Puerto Rico Best Boxing is looking to stage a major card on February 20th in Puerto Rico. The event would be headlined by Roman "Rocky" Martinez defending his WBO junior lightweight crown against Mexican former champion Orlando "Siri" Salido in a trilogy fight.
Rocky (29-3-2, 17 KOs) dethroned Siri (43-13-3, 30 KOs) on April 11 at the Coliseo Jose Miguel Agrelot in one of the most exciting fights of the year. The rematch took place on the Floyd Mayweather-Andre Berto undercard on September 12 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. That fight ended in a draw, although many insiders saw Salido as the winner.
"Since the moment the second fight was over, everyone was talking to Showtime about a third fight," said Rivera to Jose Sanchez. "But since that first day [of talks], Stephen (Espinoza, vice president of boxing on Showtime) told us that the only way they could buy that card is if it is done in Puerto Rico. That's the angle they see it to promote it well. "
The idea, said Rivera, is to make the card a championship tripleheader with three current world champions from Puerto Rico: Martinez, Jose Pedraza and McJoe Arroyo. Pedraza (21-0, 12 knockouts) is the the International Boxing Federation (IBF) champion at super featherweight, and he would make a mandatory defense against Stephen Smith (23-1, 13 KOs). Arroyo (17-0, eight KOs), the 115-pound champion of the IBF, would also have his mandatory against Jerwin Ancajas (24-1-1, 16 KOs).
"With the people behind Ancajas, we already have a preliminary agreement," said Rivera.
But there is an issue, says Rivera. He says Salido is refusing to fight in Puerto Rico. And if Salido continues to fight them on the location, Martinez will be forced to face his mandatory challenger Miguel Berchelt. Salido has fought in Puerto Rico before and won big with knockouts over Juan Manuel Lopez.
"Right now Salido's people seem unwilling to come to Puerto Rico," said Rivera. "I do not know why Salido would say no (to fight in the country), if he is batting .700 as here."
"They kept telling us they were ready. But now they have not answered and we've spent two months on this. If Salido does not come to Puerto Rico, then in the coming days will have to send a letter to the WBO to allow us make a mandatory defense against Miguel Berchelt."
Berchelt (28-1, 25 KOs) promoted by Zanfer, which could complicate negotiations.
"Showtime can say no (to pass the bill). But we can make the card with PBC, "said Rivera, referring to the TV series Premiere Boxing Champions which is run by Al Haymon, who advises all three of Puerto Rican champions.