Lamont Peterson and Zab Judah have had trouble coming to an agreement on an IBF-mandated junior welterweight title fight, so the sanctioning body has set an October 2 date for a purse bid. The two parties still have until that time to come to their own agreement to stage the bout. The two have been negotiating a possible November date, perhaps in Washington, DC.
Barry Hunter, Peterson's trainer and manager, says that one major factor right now is that TV -- HBO and Showtime -- do not seem to have interest in carrying the fight.
"We're trying to get to the table. I don't think that the networks want that fight, so that's what we're up against. But we've made an offer from our side, and we're just waiting on it. I would love to see it happen on Nov. 10," said Hunter, who hopes to hold the bout at either the D.C. Amory or the Washington Convention Center.
"So we're just waiting to hear back from Zab. In D.C., we know that we'll get the numbers. I know that Zab has energy and juice left in him. He looked great in his last fight. The man can fight, he earned the right to be there, and he deserves the shot."
Without a major TV outlet -- the fight could wind up with Integrated Sports as an independent pay-per-view, perhaps, or on a smaller network -- there's no doubt that money is a major issue here. TV deals pay for a lot, and these aren't small-time fighters who want to work cheap. This is a world title fight, and Judah in particular has been a star in the past, and isn't ready to let go of that to take short money again -- he's had to do it here and there for years, but this is the sort of risky fight where he expects to be paid and make up for not collecting big purses in other bouts.
So it becomes a much bigger deal to think about the live gate here, and the two real ideas would probably be staging this fight in DC, where Peterson is from and drew a solid crowd last year with Amir Khan; or in the New York City area, where Judah still has fans.
The fight isn't huge, but it's not small potatoes. Promoted properly locally, it could do well at the gate.
Hunter says that they're looking at November 10, which is already a busy night in the sport. Golden Boy and Showtime will be running Mares vs Moreno at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, while Top Rank and HBO are reportedly working on finalizing a double-header, headlined by Orlando Salido vs Mikey Garcia, with Vanes Martirosyan vs Erislandy Lara in the co-feature.
I don't suppose it's entirely impossible that Golden Boy could swoop in and put in a bid on the fight, the way they did the Cornelius Bundrage-Cory Spinks rematch earlier this year. It would be surprising, but if the fight could be had for (relatively) cheap and then put on one of their upcoming scheduled shows -- maybe the Cotto-Trout fight at Madison Square Garden? -- then it could make some sense.