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Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s familiarity with the NBA is no secret as the unbeaten, retired boxer is a constant courtside attendee at Staples Center for Lakers and Clippers games.
But now, according to a cease-and-desist letter filed by Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, Mayweather has traipsed too closely to duplicating the same tampering line that found the Lakers’ LeBron James in hot water over his not-so-subtle tempting of New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis.
Three sources unauthorized to speak publicly on the matter told The Times that attorneys for De La Hoya and Golden Boy have filed legal notification for Mayweather to stop what they perceive as tampering this month with Victorville’s unbeaten lightweight Ryan Garcia, De La Hoya’s top prospect.
After Garcia bypassed watching a Golden Boy card in Indio Feb. 9 to attend the WBA super-featherweight title defense by unbeaten Mayweather-promoted Gervonta Davis in Carson that same night, Mayweather said in a video that he had a deal for Garcia.
Instead of permitting a fight against Davis right now, Mayweather said on camera, he’d pay Garcia $200,000 if he can defeat Garcia’s former Mayweather-promoted sparring partner, Rolando Romero.
Then, over the weekend, a video surfaced showing Garcia attending a Mayweather weekend birthday party.
That was enough, Golden Boy declared in the letter, reminding Mayweather that Garcia is under contract with De La Hoya, and any further activity perceived as tampering could generate legal action.
Mayweather Promotions President Leonard Ellerbe was asked by The Times about his reaction to the letter, and he did not immediately respond.
Garcia, 20, will headline a March 30 card at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio when he meets Puerto Rico’s Jose Lopez (20-3-1, 14 KOs). DAZN will stream the event, as it did Dec. 15 at Madison Square Garden when Garcia (17-0, 14 KOs) scored a fifth-round knockout on the Canelo Alvarez-Rocky Fielding undercard.
It was Garcia’s first fight under Alvarez’s trainer, Eddy Reynoso. The photogenic fighter is currently starring in the YouTube series by Brat, “On The Ropes,” which debuted Monday night and is expected to reach one million views by Wednesday.
Rematch bound for Forum
Matchroom Boxing officially announced Tuesday that the World Boxing Council super-flyweight rematch between champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai of Thailand and Mexico’s former flyweight champion Juan Francisco Estrada will take place April 26 at the Forum.
The Friday card, scheduled to avoid conflict with a DAZN-streamed Bellator MMA card headlined by welterweight champion Rory MacDonald in San Jose the next night, will also include a super-bantamweight unification bout between World Boxing Assn. champion Daniel Roman (26-2-1, 10 KOs) of Los Angeles and International Boxing Federation champion TJ Doheny (21-0, 15 KOs).
Sor Rungvisai (47-4-1), who burst upon the pound-for-pound rankings with back-to-back victories over Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, including a fourth-round knockout victory in Carson, edged Estrada (38-3, 26 KOs) by majority decision last year at the Forum on a “SuperFly” card.
“Estrada is a great fighter and we had an amazing fight last year. Our round 12 was awarded round of the year by the WBC … I believe that this fight … will be even more entertaining,” Sor Rungvisai said in a statement released by Matchroom.
Roman, who’s fought outside L.A. in his past five bouts, added, “This is the biggest and most important fight of my career. I need to deliver on my goal of being the best. … It feels pretty damn good to fight in front of my hometown fans.”
Last week’s death of former longtime La Opinion sports photographer and L.A. institution Jorge “Chiquilin Garcia has resulted in an outpouring of fond memories of the ever-present figure who was especially fond of boxing.
His public memorial service will be conducted Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Guerra Cunningham Bagues, 6531 Seville Ave., Huntington Park, with the rosary starting at noon.
Interim and necessary
Due to the suspension of lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov through July and the injury absence of middleweight champion Robert Whittaker until after that, the UFC has put two interim title fights on its April 13 pay-per-view card from Atlanta’s State Farm Arena.
As the unbeaten Nurmagomedov likely awaits until November to return from his nine-month suspension for leaping over the octagon cage following his October victory over former two-division champion Conor McGregor, the UFC has placed featherweight champion Max Holloway in the interim lightweight title fight against Dustin Poirier.
And while Whittaker recovers from the hernia and collapsed bowel he suffered on the eve of his canceled Feb. 9 title defense against Huntington Beach-trained Kelvin Gastelum, unbeaten middleweight Israel Adesanya will now meet Gastelum for the interim belt.
Tickets on sale for Lomachenko-Crolla
Tickets priced from $51.75 to $310.50 went on sale Tuesday for the April 12 two-belt lightweight title defense by Ukraine’s Vasiliy Lomachenko against England’s Anthony Crolla at Staples Center.
“Los Angeles boxing fans are passionate and knowledgeable, and I look forward to putting on a spectacular show for them at Staples Center, Lomachenko said in the official fight announcement made by his promoter, Top Rank. “I like that [mandatory challenger Crolla] always comes to fight. He’s going to make the most of this opportunity.”
Crolla added, “I cannot wait for this. These are the fights you are in the sport for.”
Until next time