A Michelle Obama speech and a Justin Timberlake concert could mean a proposed WBC heavyweight title showdown between Deontay Wilder, 40-0 (39), and Tyson Fury, 27-0 (19), ends up taking place in Los Angeles rather than Brooklyn’s Barclays Center or the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The fight, supposedly signed and sealed for December 1 (though yet to be officially announced), appeared a natural for either Vegas or New York, but this plan now looks unlikely, according to Lance Pugmire of the LA Times, who reveals Los Angeles’ Staples Center has emerged as the front-runner.
With Obama due at the Barclays Center on December 1, and Timberlake set to take the stage at the T-Mobile Arena that same night, Wilder and Fury will seemingly have to swallow their pride and play second fiddle.
Full fight notebook in Thursday's @latimes: Staples Center poised to host Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury heavyweight title bout Dec. 1; May-Pac update, Rampage discusses Liddell-Ortiz III, more: https://t.co/vC4rUnH3gR
— Lance Pugmire (@pugboxing) September 20, 2018
Meanwhile, mooted for the December 1 undercard is a fight between Gervonta Davis, 20-0 (19), and Abner Mares, 31-3-1 (15), which teases youth vs. experience yet could amount to something of a mismatch on account of the size disparity.
A better fight, albeit still unconfirmed, is a world featherweight title clash between Leo Santa Cruz, 35-1-1 (19), and Gary Russell Jr, 29-1 (17). This one, though rumoured, seems a lot less likely to happen, given everything at stake, but is a damn sight better than Davis vs. Mares, that’s for sure.
Of course, for as long as Wilder vs. Fury remains unsigned, all this talk of dates, locations and potential undercard matchups is essentially pointless. Let’s wait and see, shall we?
Failed drug tests aren’t usually a cause for celebration, but when a failed drug test scuppers a September 29 WBA ‘regular’ heavyweight title fight between Manuel Charr and Fres Oquendo, we can make an exception.
An abomination of a fight on paper (given the title, and given the fact Oquendo, now 45, has been inactive for four years), Charr vs. Oquendo got the outcome it deserved when Charr, the so-called champion, tested positive for anabolic steroids epitrenbolone and drostanolone. This result cancelled the fight immediately – hallelujah! – and instantly put a black mark against Charr’s name and prior achievements.
“Dear boxing fans,” wrote Charr, 31-4 (17), in a statement released to the press, “here is my statement on the doping test:
“The message came that I tested positive. My manager, Christian Hunter, and my promoter, Bernd Trendelburg, have cancelled the fight without informing me before or contacting me. I am very disappointed in this approach.
“I can’t explain the result, but I will do anything to solve it. I am now waiting for the result of the ‘B’ sample and I have once again undergone an independent and voluntary doping test. The results are expected to be published on Saturday.
“I have always been clean in all the fighting, and I can therefore definitely not explain how this result. I’m in shock myself, dear fans, especially as I’m in the final (stages) of the fight preparation. The defense of the championship has been my life for months. I am preparing for this fight with great discipline. During my (training) I take various supplements. It will be examined whether the food supplements may have influenced the doping sample.
“I’m working intensely to resolve the result of the doping test and the background behind it and to defend my world championship. I won’t give up and will keep you posted.”
Ah. The old tainted food supplement excuse. Works for some, but not everyone.
Ultimately, when all you have to offer the boxing world is a WBA ‘regular’ title fight against Fres Oquendo, you’re unlikely to get the benefit of the doubt, or the lenience, afforded to others – those in greater positions of power.
It’s the way this dirty business works, I’m afraid.