Vanes Martirosyan has passed on fighting Erislandy Lara in a WBC eliminator. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Vanes Martirosyan has officially passed on a WBC junior middleweight eliminator against Erislandy Lara, as Golden Boy Promotions has been informed by Top Rank to forget about Friday's purse bid for the fight, with Martirosyan looking to go "in another direction."
Martirosyan (32-0, 20 KO) will return on the undercard of the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr vs Andy Lee show on June 16, likely against his usual level of competition, which isn't saying much. With the WBC out the window, perhaps he'll pursue a title shot with the WBO, WBA, or IBF.
In Martirosyan's defense, the excuse from his uncle/manager Serge isn't a bad one: They wanted it in writing that a win over Lara would lead to a fight with Canelo Alvarez. But also to be fair, it doesn't appear as though Erislandy Lara was begging for anything in writing, and the Martirosyan camp is pretty well exaggerating their difficulties with the WBC. They fought a semi-final eliminator last year against Saul Roman, but they're going on about two years of nonsense.
The WBC is ridiculous, and the way they scheduled the semi-final eliminators (Kirkland vs Molina in March was the second, nine months after Vanes fought his) was pretty stupid, but what else is Martirosyan doing that he can't fight a good opponent and potentially pick up a quality win? He's fought 32 times and has plateaued at "prospect," except now he's 26 and the balking in response to fighting good opposition has become very tiresome.
Frankly, I can't side with much of anyone here. It's typical Martirosyan, it's typical WBC, and with those two forces combined, the Golden Boy-Top Rank feud didn't even get to become a potential factor. Everyone seemed ready to just sign off on the fight -- it's not like we're talking about marquee stars from either company, fighters they're protecting from anything. It's go time for both.
But to again be fair, it's not like there's nothing "convenient" about how this all played out. Martirosyan vs Lara was ordered because Vanes was ranked No. 1 and James Kirkland No. 2, and Kirkland is currently out with a shoulder injury. So the fighter ranked No. 3 by the WBC, Lara, was given a chance at the final eliminator.
However, Kirkland is going to be fine by September 15, apparently, as he's the leading candidate to face Canelo Alvarez.
I'd love to keep up my supposed anti-Vanes stance, but his side is just one of the problems here. He's going elsewhere. All I can really say is that I hope Vanes actually fights someone good sometime, and that Canelo-Kirkland happens, and that Lara also gets a good fight. This situation has layers, man, and it's all too silly for me to "come down" on any one party.