- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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HBO and promoters Top Rank and K2 Promotions are working on a good looking potential tripleheader for Jan. 19 at the Madison Square Garden Theater in New York: Orlando Salido-Miguel Angel "Mikey" Garcia in a featherweight title fight, Gennady Golovkin in a defense of his middleweight belt and Juan Manuel Lopez against Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. in an all-Puerto Rican battle.
It’s not done yet, but they’re working on it. It would kick off HBO’s 2013 boxing schedule.
The Jan. 19 HBO date and the venue belonged to K2 Promotions to put on a fight with Golovkin, who was so impressive in his HBO debut on Sept. 1, when he blitzed Grzegorz Proksa in a four-round destruction.
At the same time, HBO was working with Top Rank on a Feb. 2 card in Puerto Rico on which Salido would defend against Garcia in a fight that was originally supposed to take place last week. But it was postponed after Salido broke a finger when it was slammed in a car door. Garcia fought a replacement opponent, former titlist Jonathan Barros, and got safely through the fight by scoring a rather sensational face-first knockdown in the eighth round, after which Barros quit.
The other fight on the proposed Feb. 2 card was former featherweight and junior featherweight titlist Lopez, who was knocked out twice by Salido in very exciting fights, and Vazquez, also a former junior featherweight titlist.
However, HBO has been working with Top Rank and K2 to combine the shows and to do it in New York on Jan. 19, mainly because of the costs associated with shipping an HD truck to Puerto Rico for the telecast.
Salido-Garcia is a done deal, according to Top Rank, Salido’s management and HBO. However, the two other fights are both fluid situations.
Golovkin is going to fight on the card, but lining up a solid opponent has been tough. There was discussion of a catch weight fight against super middleweights Edwin Rodriguez or Thomas Oosthuizen. But neither will wind up happening, mainly over their financial demands. HBO also was not all that jazzed about Golovkin facing either of them and was not looking to throw more money at either opponent to get the fight done. HBO’s preference is that Golovkin defend his title at 160 pounds rather than fight a catch weight fight, so it looks like Golovkin will stay at 160 pounds and defend his title.
Among the potential opponents who have been brought up are Marco Antonio Rubio (who lost a clear decision on HBO to Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in a title fight in earlier this year), Fernando Guerrero (a one-time blue chip prospect and Al Haymon client) and Brian Vera (who knocked out Andy Lee a few years ago and then lost every round to him in a rematch on HBO 13 months ago). I’m told that Rubio turned down the fight and that HBO (thankfully) rejected Vera. HBO would accept Guerrero, but there might be an issue between Haymon and K2 over future contract options. So we’ll see who they come up with for Golovkin.
As for Lopez-Vazquez, it ain’t easy, even though it’s a really good fight. Top Rank has not been able to work out the money yet with the fighters and there is also a matter of weight.
Lopez is talking about moving up to junior lightweight and wants the fight at 130 pounds, according to Top Rank, while Vazquez would be willing to go to the 126-pound featherweight division for the fight. Enough money could probably convince them to work it out, but with the fight moving from Puerto Rico to New York there is less green to work with.