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Machado-Mensah talks to resume on Monday, says GBP matchmaker

Fighters Network

On Friday, a press release came out from the office of Don King, the legendary dealmaker who is still doing his thing at age 86, and yes, that includes the occasionally incendiary or contentious statement in the course of negotiations.

Here is the release, below. You will note that Golden Boy matchmaker/executive Robert Diaz is referenced in the release. We reached out to Diaz to get his side of the story and to see if we could figure out what is going on and what will play out in the next defense for Alberto Machado.


Deerfield Beach, Fla. (Feb. 9, 2018) – Boxing promoter Don King has been trying to finalize a fight with WBA super featherweight champion Alberto “El Explosivo” Machado for more than two months with his number two contender, Rafael Mensah.

I’ve been dealing with Robert Diaz of Golden Boy Promotions and he seems to be a forthright person,” said King.  “Since the beginning of December they have been telling me we would have an agreement to fight on January 27th after they arranged a meeting with HBO’s Peter Nelson.  It has been one story after another story.”

King continued: “I had the one call with Robert Diaz and he never called me back. We kept calling him.  We were supposed to go in together to meet with Peter Nelson and they said we would have a 50-50 deal, and I’ve never heard from him. Mensah has been waiting three years for a title opportunity.

My fighter was set to fight on Jan. 27, which is what we agreed upon. But I never heard back from anyone. They are playing the con game in trying to avoid this fight with Mensah.  They are trying to get under the rules and not fight my future champion.  The making of the Machado-Mensah fight has become convoluted and full of intrigue and machination.  This whole thing has been mysterious.   We are ready to fight!”

Mensah, who hails from Ghana, is 31-0 with 23 KOs.

Diaz on Saturday showed a deference for King, but made sure to note that his recollection and POV on the Machado matter differ from the Don’s.

“I have nothing but respect for King, he’s a legend, but his take is a little off,” Diaz told me. The GBP rep said he did indeed look to place a Machado-Mensah match on January 27, but HBO bossman Peter Nelson wasn’t open to adding that scrap to the January 27 HBO card, which featured Lucas Matthysse vs. Tewa Kiram and Jorge Linares vs. Mercito Gesta. “I asked Don, could Mensah be ready if Peter was open to it. But Nelson said no, wasn’t interested.”

Mensah, Diaz continued, isn’t a known quantity, someone ready-made to get added to a TV card. For that matter, he noted, Machado, a Puerto Rican power-puncher promoted by Miguel Cotto, is still new on the scene. “I told Don that – that Machado only just has his foot in the door,” Diaz stated.

As for “not hearing back” from Diaz, as King put it, Diaz told me he often prefers to go back and forth on email. Why? To have it in writing. That way it’s on paper, and there’s less chance of a mixup, a mis-interpretation or what have you off a phone call.

Diaz also said he’s not quite sure about that “50-50” reference, being that Machado has the title – the WBA 130-pound crown, taken off Jezreel Corrales in October. Mensah doesn’t have heavy leverage, even though he’s 31-0, because he’s fought outside Ghana only once. If this pairing went to purse bid, Machado would enjoy a 75-25 split.

Diaz’s emails to King included asking what sort of number King would want for Mensah, and, he told me, a number finally was offered to him not far from the time when that release went out. So, Diaz shared, he will get on the same page with Machado co-promoter Miguel Cotto and they will talk on Monday to hash out the way forward. A purse bid is set for Feb. 19, so maybe a deal gets hashed out before then, or maybe it doesn’t.

So… “convoluted” “machinations,” or simply two different sides of the same story? We report, you decide.

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