Notebook: Lopez-Kambosos targeted for June 12 in New York, per source
Podcast appearance, Andrade-Williams purse bid, more
While unified lightweight world champion Teofimo Lopez Jr., the 2020 fighter of the year, is likely to next fight George Kambosos Jr., one of his mandatory challengers, the bout probably will not be take place in Australia, Kambosos’ home country, as had been discussed by the camps.
Instead, Lopez promoter Top Rank is hoping to put the fight – for which a deal has not yet been finalized – on June 12 at Madison Square Garden in New York, a source with knowledge of the discussions told Fight Freaks Unite.
June 12 is the eve of the annual Puerto Rican Day parade in New York. It remains to be seen whether crowds will be permitted at venues in New York by June, or even if the parade will take place, so nothing is concrete.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic there has not been a boxing event in New York since March 7, 2020, when heavyweight Robert Helenius knocked out Adam Kownacki in the fourth round for an upset at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
The 23-year-old Lopez (16-0, 12 KOs), of Brooklyn, is coming off his biggest victory, a unanimous decision in an upset of Vasiliy Lomachenko to unify 135-pound titles on Oct. 17 inside the bubble of the conference center at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. At the time, Lomachenko was the universally recognized No. 1 lightweight in the world and the pound-for-pound king to many.
Initially, discussions about Lopez-Kambosos between Top Rank and Lou DiBella, Kambosos’ promoter, targeted the fight for April or May in Australia. But with travel restrictions and the need to quarantine upon arrival, the U.S. became the more likely location of the fight. Kambosos trains in South Florida.
On Oct. 31 in London, Kambosos (19-0, 10 KOs), 27, of Sydney, Australia, outpointed former featherweight world titlist Lee Selby in a title eliminator to earn the mandatory shot against Lopez.
SI Boxing Podcast
I joined my pal Chris Mannix on his Sports Illustrated Boxing Podcast this week. We taped it on Thursday afternoon. We touched on a variety of topics, including super middleweight titlist Caleb Plant’s performance against Caleb Truax last Saturday; if Plant is ready for a showdown with Canelo Alvarez; the latest on the potential of a Manny Pacquiao-Ryan Garcia fight and Pacquiao’s future in general; and a look at the interesting light heavyweight division, particularly Artur Beterbiev, Joe Smith Jr. and Dmitry Bivol.
Give it a listen right here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/are-big-things-coming-at-light-heavyweight/id1176276029?i=1000507824837
Andrade-Williams purse bid
The WBO on Friday scheduled a purse bid for the fight between middleweight world titlist Demetrius Andrade and mandatory challenger Liam Williams. It is set for Feb. 10 at 4 p.m. United Kingdom time at the offices of the British Boxing Board of Control in Cardiff, Wales, unless the camps come to terms ahead of time. The minimum bid is $200,000.
The WBO said the purse bid is being held in the U.K., which is unusual, because Andrade promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing and Williams promoter Frank Warren of Queensberry Promotions are both from England and also taking into consideration travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic. Rather than a WBO representative overseeing the purse bid as usual, it will be run by Robert Smith, who heads the BBBofC.
The split of the winning purse bid will be either 80-20 or 75-25 in Andrade’s favor. If the fight is held in the United States, Andrade’s home country, or a neutral location it’s 75-20. If the fight is held in the U.K., Williams’ home country, the split is 80-20.
The sides have five days following the purse bid to file executed contracts with the WBO. Also, the winning bidder has 48 hours to “wire transfer the purse bid service fees and the 10% of the total purse offer to the WBO.” Non-compliance will result in the WBO declaring a default and awarding the rights to the fight to the second highest bidder.
Andrade (29-0, 18 KOs), 32, a southpaw from Providence, Rhode Island, has made three successful defenses. He last fought in January 2020 and knocked out Luke Keeler in the ninth round of a one-sided fight.
Williams (23-2-1, 18 KOs), 28, of Wales, has been vocally calling out Andrade to give him his mandatory shot. Williams has won seven fights in a row since back-to-back losses at junior middleweight to former world titlist Liam Smith in 2017.
Changes to GB’s Feb. 13 card
Irish middleweight Jason Quigley (18-1, 14 KOs) has withdrawn from his 10-rounder against Shane Mosley Jr., which was scheduled to take place on the Joseph Diaz Jr.-Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov undercard on Feb. 13 (DAZN) at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.
“Gutted that my fight on Feb. 13 is off due to recent illness,” Quigley wrote on social media. “Spoke to my team and we will be back in the ring in April. Recover now and then continue on with what has been a brilliant training camp to date! Only a minor delay to what is going to be a very memorable & busy year.”
Mosley (16-3, 9 KOs) will instead face Cristian Olivas (20-7, 17 KOs).
Also on the card, Bektemir “Bully” Melikuziev (6-0, 5 KOs) now has an opponent in Morgan Fitch (19-4-1, 8 KOs) for their eight-round super middleweight fight. Fitch has lost four of his last five fights. Melikuziev, a 2016 Olympic silver medalist from Uzbekistan, was added to the card after his Jan. 30 DAZN main event against former three-time light heavyweight titlist Sergey Kovalev at 178 pounds was canceled after Kovalev tested positive for synthetic testosterone in a random drug test.
Promising heavyweight Arslanbek Makhmudov (11-0, 11 KOs), 31, a Montreal-based Russian, who is on the fast track and is set to make his United States debut on the Vergil Ortiz Jr.-Maurice Hooker undercard on March 20 (DAZN) at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas, has an opponent for his regional title defense. He will face Alonzo Butler in the 10-rounder. Butler (33-3-2, 25 KOs), 41, a Nashville native, ended a four-year layoff in 2020 and won both of his fights.
British junior lightweight champion Anthony Cacace (18-1, 7 KOs), 32, of Northern Ireland, will defend against Lyon Woodstock (12-2, 5 KOs), 27, of England, on Feb. 27, promoter Frank Warren announced on Friday. The fight will be the co-feature on the card headlined by junior lightweight world titlist Jamel Herring against Carl Frampton, who is looking to win a world title in his third weight class. Cacace, who is making his first defense, and Woodstock were supposed to meet this past summer but the fight was postponed when Cacace suffered an infection following dental surgery.
Show and tell
Zab Judah won six world title belts in two divisions, junior welterweight and welterweight, during a 23-year career of ups and down, but his biggest win by far came on Feb. 5, 2005 – 16 years ago on Friday. That is when he went to Cory Spinks’ hometown of St. Louis and, in front of a packed house of more than 20,000 at the Savvis Center, knocked him out in the ninth round to avenge a decision loss from 10 months earlier and win the undisputed welterweight championship. Here is a gigantic and ultra rare site poster from the event in my collection.
Lopez photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank