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Top Rank near deal to sign Khabib Allakhverdiev

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Bob Arum says that Top Rank is close to a deal to signing WBA junior welterweight champ Khabib Allakhverdiev, which may land him on the Rios-Alvarado II card on March 30.

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Top Rank is ready to sign WBA junior welterweight titleholder Khabib Allakhverdiev, which may set up the Russian for an HBO co-feature fight beneath Rios-Alvarado II on March 30.

Allakhverdiev (18-0, 8 KO) won the vacant WBA belt in November, beating Joan Guzman in Florida. If current negotiations are completed, he would face Karim Mayfield (17-0-1, 10 KO) on March 30, with some speculation that the night's two winners would square off later in the year.

Allakhverdiev, 30, also holds wins over Nate Campbell and Kaizer Mabuza. He's a solid fighter in his prime who would be a welcome addition to the Top Rank stable, considering how shallow they've become at 140-147 compared to rival Golden Boy. Allakhverdiev probably won't wind up in the megafight mix or anything, but Top Rank simply needs to bolster their ranks in these weight classes, and he's a legit fighter and a credible opponent for any of their bigger names down the line, if he can get past Mayfield, if that happens.