Last November, Lara and Martirosyan battled to a ninth-round technical decision draw after an accidental clash of heads caused a cut over Martirosyan’s left eye and forced the verdict to go to the scorecards.
Since then, however, Martirosyan (32-0-1, 20 knockouts) has “pulled out of the fight” with Lara (17-1-2, 11 KOs), according to Lara’s manager, Luis DeCubas Jr.
The winner of Lara-Della Rosa will become the mandatory challenger to WBC beltholder Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (41-0-1, 30 KOs).
“I’m not sure what direction we’re going to go in. I need to speak to [Lara's advisor] Al Haymon about it,” said DeCubas Jr. “But, yes, 100 percent. Martirosyan has pulled out of the eliminator, and the WBC has named Della Rosa as the mandatory to Lara.”
Della Rosa has won nine straight fights since falling by split-decision to Germany’s Sebastian Zbik as a middleweight in December of 2009,
“I have to sit down with my team, and we’ll discuss our options. But this is definitely something that we’ll have to consider,” said DeCubas Jr.
“Because we have worked very hard to get into this No. 1 position in the WBC. So this is something we’ll have more of an understanding about after we’ve talked about it.”
WHAT’S UP WITH FLOYD MAYWEATHER AND ALVAREZ?
In the meantime, Alvarez, a 22-year-old Mexican star, and Floyd Mayweather Jr., holder of the WBC welterweight and WBA 154-pound belts, have each targeted May 4 for his return at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
In addition, Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs) and Alvarez have said that they want to fight on Sept. 14, potentially, against one another.
The dates fall on the two traditional Mexican holiday weekends, Cinco De Mayo and Mexican Independence Day, and with their big names, Alvarez and Mayweather could bring unprecedented attention to themselves.
On Tuesday, however, Mayweather began a media firestorm when the five-time eight-division champion’s Twittter account named IBF welterweight titleholder Devon Alexander as the leading candidate to fight him on May 4.
“The negotiations for my fight are almost done,” states Mayweather’s Twitter account. “The front runner is IBF Champion Devon Alexander. It’d be a unification bout at welterweight.”
Mayweather’s advisor, Leonard Ellerbe, could not be reached for an immediate comment.
Although Alexander’s trainer, Kevin Cunningham, did not directly address the notion of a clash with Mayweather, Cunningham told RingTV.com that Alexander is focused on recovering from a biceps injury that forced a second postponement to his defense against Englishman Kell Brook.
Mayweather’s message about Alexander contradicted the widely-reported belief that a deal had been close for Mayweather to meet WBC 147-pound interim Robert Guerrero, whose unanimous decision over Andre Berto last November represented his 15th straight win during a run that includes nine stoppages.
Even Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer had indicated that negotiations had been ongoing for Mayweather-Guerrero.
During a recent interview with BoxingScene.com, Schaefer was even more emphatic concerning the notion of Mayweather-Alexander versus Alexander-Brook.
“Based on my involvement, based on my history with Floyd, based on negotiations that have taken place in the last few months, I know who it’s going to be,” said Schaefer, according to BoxingScene.com. “But I’m not going to talk about it. I am the promoter of Devon Alexander and Devon Alexander has a mandatory for the IBF.”
In addition, IBF public relations director Jeanette Salazar informed RingTV.com that even if Alexander had elected to face Mayweather his mandatory Brook, their fight would not be approved as a defense of Alexander’s IBF belt.
“We have not received any requests or information on this from either camp,” said Salazar. “Because Alexander is under contract to fight Brook he would not be granted an exception to fight Mayweather.”
Alexander, who is 25, is coming off October’s unanimous decision over hard-punching Randall Bailey, and has twice had Showtime-televised scheduled clashes with Englishman Kell Brook (29-0, 19 KOs) postponed.
Their first bout, slated for Jan. 19, was pushed to Feb. 23 as a result of Brook’s apparent ankle injury. On Monday, Alexander-Brook was postponed, yet again, after Alexander suffered a biceps injury.
Although a new date for Alexander-Brook has yet to be determined pending the left-hander’s recovery from injury, Cunningham issued a statement via e-mail that “Devon is focused on getting his bicep back to 100 percent.”
“The IBF wouldn’t grant a step-aside and so therefore Devon Alexander is going to go and fight Kell Brook, which by the way is the fight I’m working on re-scheduling. I have absolutely no awareness of any negotiations taking place with a fighter who is under a promotional contact with us,” said Schaefer, according to BoxingScene.com.
“And Al Haymon, who is the advisor for Devon Alexander and Floyd Mayweather as well, has not confided to me either that there would be any negotiations going on unbeknownst to me.”
Coming off last May’s unanimous decision victory over Miguel Cotto for WBA’s junior middleweight belt, Mayweather had vowed to return to the ring on May 4, and then, again on Sept. 14.
The May 4 event is to include Alvarez against an opponent to be determined, although the front-runner to face Alvarez appears to be current WBA counterpart Austin Trout (26-0, 14 KOs), who is coming off December’s unanimous decision triumph over Cotto.
As far as Mayweather?
“I don’t think that Floyd Mayweather really worries about losing,” said Schaefer, according to BoxingScene.com. “He’s extremely confident that he would beat anyone.
Photos by Chris Farina-Top Rank, Robyn Beck-AFP, Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org