Now this is a twist.
Last week, Top Rank won the purse bid for Emanuel Navarrete vs. Jessie Magdaleno with an uncontested $250,000 offer. It now appears that Magdaleno wasn’t satisfied with that amount; the WBO released a statement last night revealing that the American southpaw had failed to “confirm in writing” that he would accept the bout and likewise left Top Rank on “read” after receiving the contract. As “all indications are that Magdaleno intends to decline the bout,” Top Rank requested and the WBO ordered that Navarrete instead face #2 contender Ruben Villa.
It’s unclear at the moment whether Top Rank will continue to target their planned October 17th date alongside Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Teofimo Lopez or delay it for the sake of negotiations.
This isn’t unprecedented; Gilberto Ramirez did the same earlier this year after Top Rank won the bid for his ordered bout with Eleider Alvarez, leaving Joe Smith Jr. to take “Zurdo’s” place. What makes this situation far more amusing, however, are the circumstances that brought it about.
Before Navarrete (31-1, 27 KO) vacated his super bantamweight title and moved up, the WBO had Michael Conlan, Villa (18-0, 5 KO), Ryan Walsh, and Magdaleno (28-1, 18 KO) as its top four featherweights. When the sanctioning body released its latest rankings, however, Conlan had been shunted into the 122-pound roster and Magdaleno shoved into the top slot behind Navarrete, setting up an all-Top Rank showdown for the vacant belt.
It was a blatant bit of favoritism, and now that Magdaleno’s giving them the silent treatment, it was all for nothing.
Villa is a very capable 23-year-old who boasts amateur wins over Shakur Stevenson and an impressive victory over Alexei Collado in a February ShoBox main event. Whether or not you think he’s got a chance against the hard-charging “Vaquero,” it’s good to see him getting the opportunity he deserves.
Especially since he got the powers-that-be to make asses of themselves in the process.