Lem Satterfield

WBC mandates Lara-Martirosyan for the right to face Alvarez


The respective camps of junior middleweight contenders Vanes Martirosyan and Erislandy Lara have expressed optimism in the wake of the WBC’s mandate that they begin free negotiations for an eliminator bout and the right to become the mandatory challenger to beltholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.

If no agreement is reached, however, the WBC will hold a purse bid on July 27 at its headquarters in Mexico City.

The move is the second that has been made by the WBC in regard to Lara (17-1-1, 11 knockouts)  and Martirosyan (32-0, 20 KOs), the latter of whom turned down the organization’s inititial ruling in May.

“They told us at first that we were supposed to fight James Kirkland, and then Kirkland got injured. Then it was Lara to become the mandatory, but there was no paper and no binding contract that let us know that there was a guarantee that we would get to fight Canelo after Lara,” said Serge Martirosyan, Vanes’ uncle and manager.

“If you’re saying that these two guys will fight, and one of them is going to be the mandatory to fight Canelo, then why not give us some kind of a binder to assure that it will happen.”

A purse bid had been scheduled in May, but Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez informed RingTV.com that Top Rank Vice President Carl Moretti told him on that Martirosyan was not taking the bout.

“It’s mainly the WBC. It’s their rules and it’s their belt and they have to follow their own rules. So, knowing the way that the WBC has treated us when it comes to fighting Canelo, to me, it’s no difference who we fight at this point,” said Serge Martirosyan.


“I understand that they want to protect the fighter that they’re making the most money with, and, eventually, that’s what it comes down to is the money. So this is good news. It’s an opportunity for Vanes to fight Canelo or a chance for Lara to fight Canelo. So we’re ready to move forward with this.”

It was back on April 23 that the WBC initially notified Golden Boy Promotions, which promotes Lara, and Top Rank, which handles Martirosyan, of their first mandate for Lara-Martirosyan in regard to a 30-day free negotiations period between the fighters, according to the organization’s Secretary General, Mauricio Sulaiman.

A new one was issued on Thursday, said Sulaiman, after a series of events in the junior middleweight class.

“Many things have happened in this division. We initially ordered Martirosyan to fight Alfredo Angulo, and Martirosyan did not accept. So we accepted Angulo to fight Kirkland as the semifinal, and winner was to fight Martirosyan. Kirkland knocked out Angulo, and then we ordered Kirkland-Martirosyan, and Kirkland was injured,” said Sulaiman. 

“So then, we ordered Martirosyan against Lara, because Kirkland still was injured. Now this is the final elimination to determine the mandatory contender to Canelo. This has taken many, many letters. If there is no agreement within the 30 days, then we will have a purse offer on July 27. After the purse offer, it usually takes from 90 to 120 days until the fight, and then the winner has to fight the champion.”

Lara is coming off this past Saturday’s unanimous decision over Freddy Hernandez that followed a first-round knockout of Ronald Hearns in April.

Prior to facing Hearns, Lara had not been in the ring since July of last year, when he lost a disputed majority decision to fellow left-hander Paul Williams, which many observers thought Lara had won.

In the meantime, Alvarez (40-0-1, 29 KOs) is coming off his fourth defense of his belt against ex-titleholder Sugar Shane Mosley, whom he defeated by unanimous decision in May. Alvarez is scheduled to face an opponent to be determined on Sept. 15.


Martirosyan has Saturday night’s bout against Ryan Davis (24-9-3, 9 KOs).

“Going into this fight with Ryan Davis, I was kind of bummed out because I wanted a big fight. I kept telling my manager and we keep telling Top Rank that we’re tired of fighting these bums and these other fighters, because we want the big names,” said Martirosyan.

“When they said Lara this time, I said, ‘100 percent, yes.’ So this actually gives me more motivation going against Davis, because I know that I get a bigger opportunity. This is more of a motivator than it is pressure going in against Ryan Davis.”

A 29-year-old native of Cuba who lives in Miami, Lara recently signed with Al Haymon, Lara’s manager, Luis DeCubas Jr, told RingTV.com on Wednesday.

“We’ll speak to Al and we’ll go from there. Al will take the lead from that point,” said DeCubas Jr. “Al’s pretty much the guy. Whatever he thinks is best.”

Photo / Emily Harney-Fightwireimages.com

Photo by Fightwireimages.com

Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions

Lem Satterfield can be reached at lemuel.satterfield@gmail.com


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