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Emmanuel Rodriguez and Paul Butler to meet for vacant title

Rodriguez and Butler avoided purse bid by coming to a deal.

Boxing at Manchester Velodrome Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

Bantamweight contenders Emmanuel Rodriguez and Paul Butler have reached an agreement for a fight on May 5, according to ESPN, and will be fighting for the vacant IBF bantamweight title on the Tony Bellew vs David Haye rematch undercard in London.

Puerto Rico’s Rodriguez (17-0, 12 KO) was the mandatory challenger for the belt when it was held by Ryan Burnett, who vacated and kept the WBA title instead, recently defending against Yonfrez Parejo on March 31 in Cardiff, on the Joshua-Parker card.

The 25-year-old Rodriguez is still a prospect, really, whose best wins have come over Alberto Guevara and Eliecer Aquino. He hasn’t been tested at the higher levels, but he’s in line for the shot, anyway.

Butler (26-1, 14 KO) actually won the IBF bantamweight title back in 2014, beating Stuart Hall, but he never defended it, opting to move back down to super flyweight, where he lost a title fight to Zolani Tete in 2015. Last year, he beat Hall in a rematch at bantamweight. The 29-year-old will look to regain a belt he never lost in the first place.

The Bellew-Haye II undercard also features a European super featherweight title fight between Martin J. Ward and James Tennyson, plus a super middleweight clash between John Ryder and Jamie Cox.

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