Heavyweight Mike Perez has been cleared to begin training next week after suffering a shoulder injury that cancelled his fight against Bryant Jennings. The Perez-Jennings bout could land on the undercard of a July 26 defense by WBA middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin at New York's Madision Square Garden, according to Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions.
Perez (20-0-1, 12 knockouts) was injured during training in advance of the slated May 24 bout with Jennings (18-0, 10 KOs), which represents a second mandatory title eliminator for the WBC. The entire Jennings-Perez card, including the supporting middleweight bout between ex-beltholder Daniel Geale (30-2, 16 KOs) and former title challenger Matthew Macklin (30-5, 20 KOs), was scrapped.
"Mike doesn't need surgery for the shoulder injury, so the doctors have said that he would be able to begin training on May 27, and, that would give him enough time to be ready for that July 26 date," said Loeffler.
"It would make sense to put it on the Golovkin show. Since Perez was cleared, that could work. All indications from the doctors is that he could be ready to fight by the end of July, so he could start training on May 27, and that would give him enough of a time frame to be ready by that July 26 date."
In the first WBC title elimination bout, Bermane Stiverne scored a sixth-round knockout over Chris Arreola on May 10 for the title that was vacated by Vitali Klitschko. Stiverne must make his first defense against Deontay Wilder, and the victor between Stiverne and Wilder has been mandated to face the winner of Perez-Jennings, according to WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman.
Jennings scored a 10th-round stoppage of southpaw Artur Szpilka in his last fight in January, one day after Perez battled once-beaten Carlos Takam to a draw.
In other news, Loeffler said that Geale, promoted by Gary Shaw, is a favored consideration to face Golovkin (29-0, 26 KOs), even as the WBA has mandated that the former Olympic silver medalist make the 11th defense of his belt against Jarrod Fletcher (18-1, 10 KOs) of Australia.
"HBO has already approved Geale, but they haven't approved Fletcher. We're just waiting for a response from the WBA, and hoping that a decision is made by next week," said Loeffler. "Since HBO has not approved Fletcher, so there is no guarantee that that fight would happen if the WBA mandates Fletcher. So that's the quandry that we're in right now. The problem is that HBO has not approved Fletcher as a fight that they would show."
Golovkin, who turned 32 last month, fought four times in 2013, stopping Macklin, Gabriel Rosado, Nobuhiro Ishida and Curtis Stevens. In February, Golovkin scored a seventh-round stoppage of Osumanu Adama, who was floored once each in the first, sixth and final rounds as well as knocked out for the first time in his career. Adama represented the 16th straight stoppage victory for Golovkin.
Unranked by THE RING, the 30-year-old Fletcher is 6-0 with three knockouts since being stopped in the second round by THE RING No. 10-rated Billy Joe Saunders (19-0, 10 KOs) in September 2012. Fletcher was last in action on the Golovkin-Adama card, when he unanimously decisioned Max Bursak.
Ranked No. 3 by THE RING at 160 pounds, Geale is coming off February's sixth-round stoppage of Garth Wood that helped him to bounce back from from a split-decision loss to Darren Barker in August that took his IBF belt. Prior to the loss to Barker, Geale had won eight straight, including split decisions over ex-beltholders Sebastian Sylvester and Felix Sturm in Germany, which unified IBF and WBA belts.
Geale abdicated the WBA title he won from Sturm prior to a unanimous decision over Anthony Mundine in January 2013 that avenged a split-decision loss from May 2009. Golovkin was the WBA's mandatory challenger at the time, but Geale stated that he wanted to avenge his only loss at the time, which was to Mundine