By Jake Donovan
Claudio Marrero has spent all of 2016 calling out the featherweight titlists, two in particular in Jesus Cuellar - his lone conqueror - and Carlos Zambrano.
One wish so far has been granted, as the World Boxing Association (WBA) has ordered negotiations for a showdown between Zambrano - its interim featherweight champ - and Marrero, effective this past Monday.
The two have 30 days to negotiate, or else be subject to a purse bid hearing due to take place November 2 at WBA headquarters in Panama City, Panama.
"I am overjoyed with the chance to once again fight for the title with a great organization such as the WBA," Marrero told BoxingScene.com. "I have worked extremely hard and focused over the past 1137 days and 12 minutes. (3 years and 45 days). I have been calling out everyone in the 126 pound division for over a year and the WBA has taken notice that I am worthy of the opportunity and can't be avoided any longer."
The winner will become the mandatory challenger to Cuellar, as part of the WBA's continued efforts to consolidate its number of title claimants.
Zambrano (26-0, 11KOs) hasn't fought since making his first title defense last August, scoring a 12-round decision over Jose Sanmartin in his native Peru. The unbeaten 32-year old - who won the interim title last March - recently signed with Mayweather Promotions, with hopes of landing plum assignments through the vast connection of his new promoter, retired former pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather.
Instead, his first assignment is a fight he's spent most of 2016 finding ways to avoid.
"Zambrano must fight or vacate," notes Marrero (23-1-1, 15KOs), who has won seven straight following a title fight loss to Cuellar in Aug. '13. "I don't know much about him other than he has what I need and want! The only way I am going to be given the fights for titles is becoming their mandatory! These paper champions who don't wish to defend or clearly fight the best is sickening. I understand the business end of it, but that doesn't make it better. The WBA has ordered it and I'm ready. Wait till they get a load of me!!!"