By Rick Reeno
An interesting situation is brewing with the vacant IBF junior welterweight title. Last Thursday, Main Events won a scheduled purse bid at the IBF's headquarters in New Jersey, for the right to stage a fight between Zab Judah and Kaizer Mabuza of South Africa. The two boxers will battle for the organization's vacant 140-pound title.
Kathy Duva, CEO of Main Events and promoter of Judah, place in a winning bid of $50,000. Mabuza's promoter Branco Milenkovic, of South Africa, put in a bid but it was disqualified by the IBF. According to the IBF rules, all bids have to be delivered personally or by courier. Milenkovic's travel plans were cut short when a winter storm crippled the East Coast and most of the surrounding airports were shut down.
According to Branco, his bid was more than double of the $50,000 placed in by Main Events. He placed in his bid by email, which the IBF threw out in accordance to their rule book.
There are heavy rumors going around that Mabuza will not accept the fight because of his unhappiness with the way the purse bid played out. If Mabuza walks away, the IBF would likely order Judah to face Victor Ortiz, the next available contender. Mabuza has until January 14 to sign a contract.
Eric Gomez, head matchmaker at Golden Boy Promotions, has heard the rumors regarding Mabuza's possible withdrawal from the fight. In light of those rumors, Golden Boy is keeping Ortiz available until the Judah-Mabuza situation plays out.
"Mabuza has until January 14th to sign a contract. There is a possibility that Mabuza will not come over to fight Zab Judah for the vacant title. If for whatever reason Mabuza doesn't take the fight with Judah, then the next guy in line is Victor Ortiz. We're going to wait that out and see what happens there. We can do Victor and Zab Judah for the vacant title and that's something that we're interested in," Gomez told BoxingScene.com.