Lebedev-Jones: Wait and see
February, 12, 2013
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com
AP Photo/Efrem LukatskyDon King has indentified Nigeria as a possible site for the Denis Lebedev-Guillermo Jones fight.Cruiserweight titleholder Denis Lebedev of Russia is supposed to make a mandatory defense against so-called "champion in recess" Guillermo Jones of Panama, a fight that Don King won a recent purse bid for.
Will the fight ever take place? I have my doubts.
King, Jones' promoter (who has done stunningly little to actually promote him) bid a shockingly high $712,000 to beat the bid of $357,000 offered by Hrunov Promotions, which handles Lebedev, at the WBA's auction at its offices in Panama.
King did not offer a specific date for the fight that is supposed to take place in April, although he did list proposed sites of Panama, Miami and Nigeria in his purse bid paperwork. Who wants to bet $712,000 that if it ever does take place it won't be in Nigeria?
Whether King will deliver the fight anywhere remains to be seen. Remember, the last time King won a high-priced purse bid was when he offered a whopping $1.1 million for the heavyweight eliminator between Bermane Stiverne, his fighter, and Cristobal Arreola.
King, with no place to do the fight, no real money behind it and few friends left at the networks to make a deal with, defaulted on the bid, which allowed second-place bidder Dan Goossen, Arreola's promoter, to gain control of the fight for a more legitimate $550,000. Goossen made a deal with HBO and the fight is scheduled for March 9.
For Lebedev-Jones, the minimum bid was $200,000 and Jones is entitled to 55 percent of the money and Lebdev 45 percent.
It's an odd fight, considering that Jones held the title and repeatedly dodged the mandatory defense against Lebedev. Eventually, the chronically inactive Jones (38-3-2, 30 KOs) -- who made only two defenses in 38 months with the title -- was stripped and made the ridiculous "in recess" titleholder.
Lebedev (25-1, 19 KOs), meanwhile, was elevated from interim titlist to full titlist and made an easy defense on Dec. 17 when he drilled Santander Silgado in the fourth round in Russia.
Why the WBA allowed Jones to become its "in recess" titlist and ordered him to fight Lebedev in a fight that he had been avoiding is a mystery to me. It makes no sense, but then again, not much the organization does makes much sense to me or anyone else.