Andrade-Korobov to fight for vacant WBO 160-lb. belt, Arum not happy
The WBO has ordered a middleweight title fight between its 154-pound beltholder Demetrius Andrade and Matt Korobov, the mandatory challenger the 160-pound belt vacated last week by Peter Quillin, according to a press release from Andrade’s co-promoters Banner Promotions and Star Boxing.
Andrade (21-0, 14 knockouts) was given the shot against Korobov (24-0, 14 KOs) over the Puerto Rico-based sanctioning organization’s No. 2-rated middleweight Billy Joe Saunders, who has not fought a top-rated boxer “in more than a year,” the WBO’s general secretary Jose Izquierdo told RingTV.com.
“We are very happy and delighted that the WBO has given Demetrius Andrade this great opportunity to fight for the middleweight world title,” Artie Pelullo of Banner Promotions stated in the press release that was sent out on Wednesday. “It’s a great opportunity for Demetrius to become a two-division world champion.
“Matt Korobov and Demetrius Andrade were both 2007 world amateur champions and 2008 Olympians, Demetrius from the United States, and Korobov from Russia. As professionals, they are both undefeated and their paths will finally cross. My partner, Joe DeGuardia, and I will get on the phone and call [Korobov’s promoter and Top Rank CEO] Bob Arum, who promotes Korobov and try to make this fight happen this Fall.”
On Monday, Arum informed RingTV.com that he had been in talks for a Nov. 22 Korobov-Saunders clash with Saunders’ promoter, Frank Warren. But the WBO’s ruling renders those negotiations a moot point.
“I think that it’s a very bad decision on the WBO’s part,” said Arum. “I think that they should have made No. 1 against No. 2 for the vacant title. But with that being said, they made their decision, and we’re going to abide by it.”
Izquierdo explained why the WBO’s World Championship Committee rendered its decision.
“Basically, what happened here is that we had petitions on behalf of both Demetrius Andrade and B.J. Saunders, and taking all matters into consideration, the WBO World Championship Committee decided to rule in favor of Andrade in light of our rules and existing precedent, which is to give that consideration to our world champions who are moving up in weight so that they may vie for that title in the next division up,” said Izquierdo, the top assistant to WBO President Paco Valcarcel.
“Obviously, they’ve all be notified of this resolution, and we haven’t heard anything about a potential date, and the sides to the contest that we just ordered have 15 days to reach an agreement. As usual, any of those involved may call for a purse bid. The reason that we have that 15 days is that we had a purse bid for Quillin and Korobov, and they already had a date and everything, so we’re giving the sides for this new fight 15 days within which to reach an agreement.”
As a result, however, Arum said that his relationship with Pelullo has soured.
“I’m wiping Pelullo off my list,” said Arum. “Pelullo and I had a telephone conversation a few days ago where we agreed on a method where the No. 1 would fight the No. 2, with the winner to fight Andrade in 90 days. He reneged on that deal, and for that, he’s off my list.
“Joe DeGuardia, on the other hand, is a very ethical guy and he’s a guy who, when he gives his word, that’s his word. As far as Pelullo is concerned, forget about it. I don’t want to talk to him about this deal. I’ll work with DeGuardia on making this fight happen.”
Pelullo, however, said that he did not retract his petition to the WBO for Andrade to challenge for the vacant 160-pound title bout because Arum failed to get back to him with a report from Warren.
“I’m very sorry that Bob feels that way about me,” said Pelullo. “I’ve always respected Bob and have learned a lot from him over the years, but he’s not correct in how he said that the deal went down. Last week, on Friday morning, at around 11:30 or noon, Bob called my office in Philadelphia and told me that he spoke to Paco and that Paco said that I should try to work something out with you so that Matt Korobov and Saunders could fight in November, and then, we will guarantee you that you’ll get the fight six months later with the winner facing Demetrius Andrade. I said, ‘Well, listen, here’s what I would want to do in order to make this happen. I would want Andrade to fight on that card.
“I need Andrade to fight before the end of the year. If you can get Demetrius Andrade on that card, and we can fight before the end of the year, then I will agree to it, so get back to me.’ He said ‘That’s very reasonable, Artie, and not unfair.’ I said, ‘Okay, where are you?’ He said, ‘I’m In New York, and I’ll call you on Saturday when I get back to Los Angeles. I’ll call you after I talk to Warren.’ He never called me. He never called me Saturday, Sunday, Monday or whenever. So I assumed that by him never calling me that he never made the deal. I never agreed to allow Andrade to step aside and not have any way to benefit from it. When Bob never called me back, I assumed that Frank Warren was unwilling to put Andrade on the card. Nobody ever called me back. There was no deal. At the end of the day, we had to protect Demetrius, and I’m sure everything will work out fine.”
Quillin pulled himself out of a scheduled Nov. 1 defense against Korobov for which he stood to make a career-high $1.4 million due to the $1.9 million purse bid won by Roc Nation Sports last month.
In his last fight in June, Korobov, 31, scored a unanimous decision over Jose Uzcategui, while Saunders, 25, was last in action for an eighth round knockout of Emanuele Blandamura in July.
Andrade, 26, was last in action for a seventh-round knockout of England’s Brian Rose, whom he dropped in the first and third rounds at Barclays Center in June. Rose represented Andrade’s first defense of the belt he won by split-decision over Vanes Martirosyan, who dropped Andrade in the first round of their fight in November.
“I am pleased that the WBO has granted Demetrius the opportunity to add another world championship to his impressive accomplishments,” said DeGuardia. “We hope and expect that this will be the second of many more championships that he will acquire.”