Top Rank outbid Golden Boy Promotions this morning to gain the rights to promote a fight between Vanes Martirosyan and Erislandy Lara, which will serve as a final WBC junior middleweight eliminator, with the winner facing the winner of the September 15 fight between current titlist Canelo Alvarez and Josesito Lopez.
BoxingScene.com reports that Top Rank bid $405,000, with Golden Boy bidding $326,000. Top Rank promotes Martirosyan, while GBP handles Lara.
Martirosyan (32-0, 20 KO) hasn't fought since December 4, when he ran over a criminally overmatched Troy Lowry on the Chavez-Rubio card in Texas. He was set to return against another club fighter, Ryan Davis, on June 16, which was then moved to July 7. The fight never did take place, as Davis failed his medical exam before the bout.
The 26-year-old Martirosyan, trained by Freddie Roach, has been heavily criticized by many -- including myself -- for what has been exceptionally soft matchmaking, and he's also pulled out of negotiations several times for bigger fights, including bouts with Alfredo Angulo and, in the recent past, Erislandy Lara. He has spent more time complaining the last couple of years than he has proving his status as a top contender.
All that said, this is exactly what we've wanted to see Martirosyan do. There was a time he was considered a top prospect, for good reasons. He's got a top trainer, top promoter, and he can fight. A bout with Lara (17-1-1, 11 KO) will give us a chance to see what he's got against a legit fighter.
Lara, 29, has had an interesting 12 months. It was last July that he deserved a win over Paul Williams, only to be robbed by three ringside judges in a decision so baffling that it resulted in the suspension of all three judges. He didn't fight again until this April, and easily dominated Ronald Hearns, stopping him in 1:34, in his return to the ring. The Cuban followed that with a 10-round decision win over Freddy Hernandez on June 30.
No date has been set for Martirosyan vs Lara, but it would be a welcome addition to any card, in my estimation and could be a a fine headliner if given a good undercard.