By Jake Donovan
A conflict in potential dates has surfaced regarding the super flyweight title fight between defending champ McJoe Arroyo and mandatory challenger Jerwin Ancajas.
Arroyo's promoter, Peter Rivera of Puerto Rico Boxing Best Promotions is under the impression that a deal was reached and that the next step is to secure a site and date for the bout.
Unfortunately for Rivera, it's not his decision to make despite promoting the champion. A recent purse bid hearing was held, with Sampson Lewkowicz serving as the only bidder on behalf of Manny Pacquiao Promotions in claiming the rights to the fight with a winning submission of $25,000.
A contract was sent out to Arroyo's team on Friday, for the fight to take place on April 16 at Strike Coliseum in Bacoor City, Philippines. As per the terms of the purse bid, Arroyo will be entitled to the favorable end of an 85/15 split, or $21,250 USD - a larger-than-normal split due to his defending in his challenger's home country.
This information is in stark contrast to Rivera’s belief that the fight will land in the United States or Puerto Rico.
"Contrary to reports out of Puerto Rico from (Rivera) that his IBF 115-pound world champion McJoe Arroyo would defend his belt in the US or Puerto Rico, those stories are false,” Sean Gibbons, matchmaker for MP Promotions insisted to BoxingScene.com on Friday. “Contracts went out today from Sampson Boxing to McJoe Arroyo to defend the belt Apr 16 in the Philippines versus number-one contender Jerwin Ancajas.”
Arroyo (17-0, 8KOs) beat another Filipino contender to claim the title, scoring a technical decision win over Arthur Villanueva in their vacant title fight last July. He has not fought since then, although was penciled in for a potential February 20 date with Ancajas in a title fight that would have been part of a planned tripleheader to have aired on Showtime.
However, the major components of such a show – namely a hoped-for third showdown between Roman Martinez and Orlando Salido – fell through, thus putting this mandatory title fight back at square one.
Ancajas (24-1-1, 16KOs) was willing at the time to travel to Puerto Rico for the chance to fight for the title, but no longer has to worry about that. Despite only due to receive $3,750 USD for the opportunity, the 24-year old southpaw will once again fight in his home country, where the majority of his career has taken place.
The first-time title challenger has yet to fight outside of Asia, with his lone two road trips taking place in China. One such occasion came in Nov. ’14, on the undercard of Pacquiao’s 12-round shutout of Chris Algieri. Ancajas scored a 3rd round knockout on the non-televised portion of the card, one of 11 consecutive victories – all by stoppage – he has racked up since suffering the lone loss of his career to countryman Mark Geraldo in March ’12.
Arroyo outpointed Geraldo in their Dec. ’14 title eliminator to earn his title shot. He’d since signed with adviser Al Haymon, who secured the rights to the vacant title fight with Villanueva and staging the event on a Showtime card last summer. It appears that his team believed the same type of magic would take place, but it is not their move to make as MP Promotions controls the rights to the fight.
The likelihood of MP Promotions changing locations is minimal. The fight is due to take place one week after Pacquiao’s own ring appearance – which could be his last ever as he plans to make a run for a Senate seat during the Philippines’ general election in May. His fight will come in the form of a rubber match with Timothy Bradley, due to take place April 9 in Las Vegas.
As is customary for the former eight-division champ, the plan would be to return home afterward, where he would lend his name and face to this particular promotion one week later.
Unless a side deal can be made that is satisfactory to Ancajas’ team, Arroyo’s only options would be to travel to the designated location (Philippines in this case) or else vacate the title.
“Sampson Boxing won the purse bid for the fight to be promoted by Manny Pacquiao Promotions,” points out Gibbons. “Manny said this is a dream to be able to have one of his boxers under my promotional banner (Ancajas) to fight for a World Title in the Philippines!”
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox