By Rick Reeno
As BoxingScene.com previously reported, the WBC has officially ordered a final eliminator between junior middleweights Erislandy Lara (16-1-1, 11KOs) and Vanes Martirosyan (32-0, 20KOs). The winner would become the mandatory challenger to the title currently held by Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (39-0-1, 29KOs), who defends his belt at the MGM Grand on May 5th against former three division champion "Sugar" Shane Mosley.
The situation is confusing to Team Vanes and his promoter Top Rank. Vanes was under the belief that he already went through several eliminators - including last year's TKO win over Saul Roman for the WBC's silver title.
However, the WBC advised BoxingScene that Vanes-Roman was a "semi-eliminator" and the victor was supposed to fight the winner of March's "other semi-eliminator" between James Kirkland and Carlos Molina. Kirkland won the other half of the puzzle, but suffered a right shoulder injury during the contest and early this month he underwent successful arthroscopic surgery to repair two tears in his shoulder.
As we reported earlier - because Kirkland [ranked at 2] is unavailable, the WBC ordered Vanes [ranked at 1] to fight Lara [ranked at 3].
Serge Martirosyan, the uncle and manager of Vanes, informed BoxingScene that his nephew is willing to fight Lara - but only if Canelo is contractually bound to fight the winner.
Vanes returns to action on June 16th, as part of the Julio Cesar Chavez-Andy Lee undercard at the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas.
"Vanes has been going through this with the WBC for two years now. He's been fighting eliminators, semi-eliminators and now they've come back with this Lara thing. Again, we'll fight all of the Laras in the world - if we get it in writing, a 100% guarantee, that the winner will get Canelo," Serge told BoxingScene.com.
"If we fight all of the Laras in the world, and we don't get Canelo, then what's the point of doing it when we can go after the other belts. He's been loyal to the WBC and defended his WBC silver belt. It was going to be Kirkland. We agreed to fight Kirkland, but he's injured. If Kirkland is injured, then why is [Vanes] not getting a straight shot? But like I said, Vanes will fight Kirkland, Lara or whoever they put in front of us - as long we get it in writing [that Canelo fights the winner] because we don't want to go through this BS again."
"There is no point in fighting Lara if the winner is not going to get Canelo. There is no upside to fighting Lara and winning [without the winner getting Canelo]. Right now, Vanes and Lara - there is not much money involved for this fight. Vanes can have other fights and make a lot more money. But, if we get it in writing that we'll fight Canelo [next], then we'll fight Lara - and we already told Top Rank [about our position]."