Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer gave an update on the potential for an HBO-televised double-header on Jan. 28, saying that he still has to have a conversation with the network “as it relates to a license fee.”
Schaefer said that HBO has, nevertheless, expressed interest in a rematch between southpaw former WBC welterweight beltholder Victor Ortiz (29-3-2, 22 KOs) and IBF counterpart Andre Berto (28-1, 22 KOs), ranked Nos. 3 and 4 in their division by THE RING, as well as an accompanying welterweight matchup featuring former WBC/IBF junior welterweight titleholder Devon Alexander (22-1, 13 KOs) and former IBF junior welterweight titleholder Paulie Malignaggi (30-4, 6 KOs).
“I have had some conversations and have spoken to [Berto’s promoter] Lou DiBella, and I have had some conversations with HBO,” said Schaefer, adding that the bouts would be televised from a site to be determined.
“I will be meeting with HBO next week, and we’ll be discussing the card, meaning Devon Alexander and Paulie Malignaggi, and Victor Ortiz versus Andre Berto. That’s why I’m going next week to New York.”
The 28-year-old Berto dethroned Jan Zaveck (31-2, 18 KOs) as IBF welterweight titleholder by fifth-round knockout in September, stopping Zaveck for the first time in his career.
The victory helped Berto rebound from losing his WBC belt to Ortiz in April, a unanimous decision during which the winner was dropped in the second and sixth rounds, and Berto was floored in the first and sixth.
Ortiz didn’t hold on to the belt for long, though, losing it to Floyd Mayweathr Jr. (42-0, 26 KOs) by fourth round knockout on Sept. 17.
Against Ortiz, Berto complained of a lack of stamina, and was hospitalized with dehydration afterward. Berrto credited a new relationship with controversial BALCO founder, Victor Conte, for re-energizing his workouts in prepraration for Zaveck.
After examining Berto’s blood samples, Conte found that the fighter to be overtrained and severely anemic. B u
“I couldn’t lift my arms, couldn’t move my legs and my body wasn’t there. Every time I tried to throw a combination, my body was just so exhausted,” said Berto, who was briefly hospitalized with dehydration afterward.
“Sometimes in the fight, the only thing that I could do was fall back to the ropes. I had trained hard, just like I always do, but my stuff wasn’t right. Everything was just dead to me. I fought on pure heart that night, but deep inside, I knew that there was a problem.”
The presence of Conte, however, has aroused suspicion in the camp of Ortiz, whose manager, Rolando Arelano, said that he will “demand Olympic-style drug testing” before a deal is reached.
Prior to his past two victories over Shane Mosley and Ortiz in May of last year and in September, Mayweather required that his opponents undergo Olympic-style random drug testing of urine and blood that was conducted by United States Anti-Doping Agency.
“Berto made inuendo that Victor was on steroids when Victor beat him, and that if we wanted to fight him again, we would have to take a drug test. So I’m going to demand that Berto take the tests, because he demanded that we take the test,” said Arelano.
“There’s certain things that need to be looked into. We want to know what Berto is taking for his anemia. So we’re willing to take the drug test any time, any place. But Berto has to take the same drug test. They can take blood out of Victor right in front of Berto in the ring before the first bell rings.”
Meanwhile, the 24-year-old Alexander has climbed into the welterweight division and acquired the WBC’s No. 1 spot in the wake of the loss by Ortiz to Mayweather.
Alexander lost his WBC junior welterweight title following an 11th-round technical decision loss to Tim Bradley (27-0, 11 KOs) in January, but bounced back with a 10-round decision win over hard-hitting RING No. 5-rated junior welterweight Lucas Matthysse (28-2, 26 KOs) in June.
Alexander still is ranked No. 4 as a junior welterweight by THE RING, having yet to fight in the welterweight division.
Since losing by 11th-round knockout to WBA/IBF junior welterweight beltholder Amir Khan (26-1, 18 KOs) in May of last year, Maliignaggi (30-4, 6 KOs) has won three straight welterweight bouts, one of them by knockout.
Malignaggi, who turns 31 on Nov. 23, is coming off a lopsided 10-round unanimous decision on Oct. 1 over Orlando Lora (28-2-1, 19 KOs).
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Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com