By Fernando Gaztambide
The International Boxing Federation (IBF) has ordered a purse bid for the long-awaited world title fight being pursued by Puerto Rican fighter, Emmanuel 'Manny' Rodriguez (17-0, 12 KO) - who is on the heels of a cracker with the unified world champion at 118-pounds, UK star Ryan Burnett (18-0, 9 KO), who also holds the world title of the World Boxing Association.
The purse bid will be held on Monday, February 12 at the headquarters of the IBF at 12:00 pm.
Recently, Rodriguez, who is ranked #2 by the World Boxing Council (WBC) and #3 in the IBF since the 1 and 2 ranking slots are vacant, was scheduled to face former world champion Lee Haskins for the vacant interim-IBF belt 118 pounds in England, but the team behind Haskins could not finalize all of the details - citing a lack of venue and television.
Rodriguez also had numerous dates that were scheduled for eliminator showdowns with former two division world champion Omar Narvaez, who even no-showed one of the planned dates in Puerto Rico.
Promoter Juan Orengo of Fresh Productions, who handles Rodriguez, said - "It has been a tough road because it is amazing how the opponents that the IBF chooses for 'Manny' and who are ranked in the top positions, decide not to face him.
"A few former world champion like Omar Narvaez and his team, rejected the fight, even when we agreed to fight in Argentina under their conditions. Also the next qualifier Rodrigo Guerrero, a Mexican warrior, did not accept the fight and the same with Lee Haskins - even when we told his team that 'Manny' was willing to fight under all of his conditions and even in his backyard. But now, with the Notification sent by the IBF, Burnett can not escape through the back door."
Rodriguez and his handlers are hoping the fight with Burnett could land on the undercard to the heavyweight unification between Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker on March 31 in Cardiff.