After news broke that the planned HBO headliner for December fell through featuring James Kirkland vs. Gabe Rosado, Golden Boy immediately connected with Top Rank to replace the fight with a bout between Sadam Ali and Jessie Vargas. But that fight has hit some obstacles straight away.
Golden Boy says that after Jessie Vargas agreed to the fight, he later withdrew from the bout because he didn't want to fight in New York (Ali's home state), where the card was set to be held. Conversely, Ali isn't interested in fighting in either Las Vegas (where Vargas now lives) nor California (Vargas' home state). So this now puts the promoters in a bit of a pickle.
Now Golden Boy is attempting to find a mutually agreeable site to hold the fight, but they're also hedging their bets by looking at an alternative match for their HBO date, with the leading candidate being heavyweight Luis Ortiz. Ortiz is already set to face Matias Ariel Vidono this Saturday for a vacant interim title, and should he make it through that fight unscathed, they'd like him to make his first title defense on the Dec. 19th card. This card will also feature Nicholas Walters, who will be making his official move up in weight, but does not yet have an opponent scheduled.