Boxing notes: Lou DiBella defends Sergio Martinez, Andre Berto
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Lou DiBella is a tough talker, and when boxing’s giant promoters backed him into a corner Friday, the former architect of HBO boxing matches came out swinging.
First, DiBella heard that veteran promoter Bob Arum was telling people in the sport’s inner circle that DiBella’s star fighter, world middleweight champion Sergio Martinez, was having trouble gathering a crowd at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City for Saturday’s title defense against England’s Darren Barker (23-0, 14 knockouts).
‘I got a thousand people here at the weigh-in, and that’s with the [nearby Philadelphia] Phillies in the playoffs,’ DiBella said. ‘I don’t need to hear what this bitter old man [Arum] thinks.’
The grapevine also reached DiBella with Arum allegedly saying that if Arum fighter Antonio Margarito defeats super-welterweight champion Miguel Cotto Dec. 3, Margarito would only fight Martinez if he was paid 60% of the purse compared to Martinez’s 40%.
‘You have to be kidding me,’ DiBella said. ‘Why even say that? My fighter’s the better fighter.’
While he was at it, DiBella blew off an offer by Golden Boy Promotions Chief Executive Richard Schaefer to have his former welterweight champion Andre Berto participate in a welterweight tournament Schaefer is shopping to HBO and Showtime.
Schaefer said he plans to consider former champion Victor Ortiz, ex-junior welterweight champ Devon Alexander, Marcos Maidana, Paulie Malignaggi, Kermit Cintron and Luis Colazzo as participants, hopeful that ‘the winner will emerge by the second half of next year as a challenger to the biggest names in the division.’
Berto lost a decision to Ortiz in April, but DiBella scoffed at the list. ‘You think people are clamoring to see Victor Ortiz again? Or Devon Alexander?’ DiBella said. ‘I’m not interested in Maidana or the other various losers. If they want to offer Bert [Amir] Khan, we’ll take it. Or a straight rematch with Ortiz.’
Said Schaefer, who promotes Khan: ‘We don’t need Berto. He doesn’t want to be in the tournament, let him go do other stuff.’
OTHER DATES: Schaefer has finalized a Khan junior-welterweight title defense against Lamont Peterson Dec. 10 in Washington, D.C., but he’s waiting for a site to open after Georgetown’s basketball team failed to reschedule its game that day at the Verizon Center. Now Schaefer’s exploring the capital’s Convention Center.
A week earlier, on Dec. 3 at Anaheim’s Honda Center, Golden Boy’s bantamweight champion Abner Mares will defend his new belt in a mandatory rematch against Joseph ‘King Kong’ Agbeko.
Agbeko was deprived of points by referee Russell Mora in his August fight against Mares when Agbeko was struck by a low blow and Mora scored it a 12th-round knockdown for Hawaiian Gardens’ Mares.
-- Lance Pugmire