Unbeaten heavyweights Bryant Jennings and Mike Perez will meet in a second-mandatory ordered by the WBC on May 24. Jennings-Perez will be supported by a middleweight bout between ex-beltholder Daniel Geale and former title challenger Matthew Macklin at a site to be determined on HBO, promoter Gary Shaw informed RingTV.com on Monday.
The venue is likely to be somewhere on The West Coast, according to Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions, who promotes Perez.
Jennings (18-0, 10 knockouts) and Perez (20-0-1, 12 KOs) are in a crowded chase for the WBC belt, whose organization has mandated that Bermane Stiverne and Chris Arreola fight for the title vacated by the retirement of Vitali Klitschko. A unanimous decision winner over Arreola in April 2013, Stiverne faces him again on May 10.
The winner of Stiverne-Arreola has been mandated to defend against Deontay Wilder, who is coming off last month's 96-second stoppage win over Malik Scott. The winner of Jennings-Perez is to be matched against that between Wilder and the victor of the Stiverne-Arreola fight.
Jennings, 29, will be after his fifth straight win against Perez, and is coming off a 10th-round knockout of Artur Szpilka in January.
"I believe that Jennings is among the most underestimated heavyweights," said Shaw, who promotes Jennings. "The heavyweight fight, obviously, I believe that my guy is definitely more athletic and that he's faster with quicker hands, and he's not going to just stand in front of Perez and get hit."
Perez, 28, was last in the ring for a draw with Carlos Takam in January that followed November's brutal unanimous decision victory over Magomed Abdusalamov, who was left brain damaged and in rehabilitation. Perez fought in honor of Abdusalamov against Takam.
"I think that this is a great heavyweight fight between two guys who have both been on HBO before, and there's been a lot of anticipation between Perez and Jennings fighting," said Loeffler. "Now, this is finally going to happen as an eliminator, and the winner will finally get a shot at a heavyweight title fight."
A 33-year-old from New South Wales, Australia, Geale (30-2, 16 KOs) dethroned Sebastian Sylvester by split-decision for the IBF's belt in 2011, and defended it four times before losing it to Darren Barker by split-decision last August.
Geale's victories in defense of his title included those by split-decision over then-ex-beltholder Felix Sturm in September 2012, and unanimous decision last January over Anthony Mundine to avenge a split-decision setback from May 2012. Barker retired after being dethroned following by second-round stoppage against Sturm in December 2013.
The 31-year-old who is promoted by Lou DiBella, Macklin (30-5, 20 KOs) has lost three of his past five fights, including by disputed split-decision to then-WBA beltholder Sturm in June 2011.
Macklin also lost his ensuing bout by 11th-round stoppage to RING and WBC champion Sergio Martinez, whom he floored in the seventh round in March 2012.
In succession, Macklin then stopped Joachim Alcine in the first round in September 2012, lost by third-round knockout to WBA titleholder Gennady Golovkin last June, and unanimously decision previsouly unbeaten Lamar Russ in December.
"That's a helluvan undercard. The Macklin-Geale fight is going to be a war," said Shaw. "I believe that Geale will win the fight. He is a late bloomer, but he's very talented, and I definitely see it being a throwback HBO-type of war."