By Jake Donovan
For months it seemed that nobody wanted to face Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, not even with the allure of a title at stake for the winner. The recent purse bid hearing for the ordered vacant title fight suggests nobody really wants to promote it, either.
As the only promoter in the room with a check and envelope in hand, Golden Boy Promotions won the right to promote the forthcoming middleweight title fight between N’Dam and David Lemieux. The California-based promoter–who signed Lemieux to a promotional contract last winter—was the lone bidder present during Tuesday’s hearing at IBF headquarters in New Jersey, offering the minimum required $102,000 to win the right to the fight.
N’Dam’s promoter, King Sports Worldwide was not present at Tuesday’s purse bid.
King's absence was a surprise considering the company went out of its way to secure the rights for N’Dam’s eliminator versus Curtis Stevens, outbidding Stevens’ promoter Main Events for a fight that ultimately aired on ESPN2 in a special off-season edition of Friday Night Fights. N’Dam became the mandatory challenger with a 12-round win over Stevens last October.
The win preceded a minor upset, when Jermain Taylor dethroned Sam Soliman to begin a second reign as a middleweight titlist, coming nearly a decade after ending Bernard Hopkins’ historic middleweight run with back-to-back wins in 2005.
Taylor was expected to take an optional defense versus Sergio Mora before moving forward with a mandatory title fight with N’Dam. However, a litany of legal charges landed Taylor in jail, as he still awaits trial for charges stemming from two separate incidents from last August and this past Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
With the title vacant, N’Dam—a former WBO titlist—became the leading contender but was without a dance partner. The fight was rejected by Felix Sturm and Billy Joe Saunders before landing on Lemieux, who is coming off of a 10th round knockout of Gabriel Rosado last December.
However, another hurdle remains in Lemieux moving forward with a next fight of any kind. In signing with Golden Boy, the Canadian knockout artist and his team became subject to a lawsuit filed by Yvon Michel’s GYM Promotions, who claims to still have paper on Lemieux. The lawsuit was also filed against his management team—Eye of the Tiger Management—and Golden Boy Promotions.
A date and location will be announced in the near future. Golden Boy promotes Lemieux, who made his HBO debut last December and is on board for his future. However, the network has yet to commit to interest in this specific matchup.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox