Boxing briefs: Wilder-Povetkin bout postponed; Mayweather comes back?

Wilder vs. Povetkin off due to failed drug test; is Floyd Mayweather really going to fight Conor McGregor? Plus Crawford vs. Postol is set for July 23.

WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder is coming for the rest of the division. Photo: Premier Boxing Champions
WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder is coming for the rest of the division. Photo: Premier Boxing Champions

SAN DIEGO, May 17, 2016 – Boxing fans learned Sunday the anticipated heavyweight bout between American WBC champion Deontay “Bronze Bomber” Wilder (36-0, 35 KOs) and mandatory challenger Alexander Povetkin (30-1, 22 KOs) of Russia set for Saturday, May 21 in Russia would be postponed due to Povetkin’s failed drug test.

WBC president Mauricio Suliaman confirmed the decision via Twitter Sunday morning.

Wilder and Povetkin both voluntarily agreed under the WBC Clean Boxing Program to be tested by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) in connection with their upcoming championship. On Friday, VADA reporter to the WBC and to the fighters and their camps Povetkin had failed due to his April 27 testing sample showing the banned substance Meldonium.

Wilder, who had been training in Sheffield, England in advance of the fight, was scheduled to fly to Moscow today. Upon receiving today’s news about the decision to postpone, Wilder issued the following statement before flying home to the United States: “I’m very disappointed that due to Povetkin’s failed drug test the fight is not going to happen on May 21 in Moscow. I had worked very hard to prepare myself for this important title defense, spending the last two weeks training in England to get accustomed to fighting in Europe. I wanted to give the fans a great show, but we understand the WBC’s position that the fight occur on an even playing field.

“This is a huge disappointment and a setback to my goals in boxing. I want to be an active heavyweight champion and it is still my goal to collect all the belts and become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.”

Deontay Wilder (right) defeated Artur Szpilka in January, his third heavyweight title defense. Photo: Stephanie Trapp, Showtime
Deontay Wilder (right) defeated Artur Szpilka in January, his third heavyweight title defense. Photo: Stephanie Trapp, Showtime

Povetkin’s promoter says the rest of the card will go forward. The cruiserweight world title fight between Russia’s Denis Lebedev (28-2, 21 KOs) and Argentina’s Victor Emilion Ramirez (22-2-1, 17 KOs) will now become the main event. Whether Showtime Sports will still schedule any live broadcast Saturday is unknown at press time. It seems doubtful.

Promoter Lou DiBella says any discussion of a rescheduled date for the fight is “unfounded” and “premature.”

Fan disappointment is inconsequential compared to the money involved. Wilder’s purse was set at $4.5 million; Povetkin’s purse was $1.93 million, with a bonus of $715,000 going to the winner. Wilder’s camp says his portion is sitting in escrow in an American bank. You can bet there will be a lawsuit to recover the purse if a fight never goes forward.

Povetkin’s promoter claims his levels of Meldonium were low and also claimed it was leftover from taking it back in September before it was banned at the start of 2016, saying he has not ingested any since January 1. But Povetkin reportedly tested negative by VADA on three earlier dates in April, meaning the substance entered his blood stream at a later date.

Unlike clembuterol, the substance Australian heavyweight Lucas Browne and Mexican super bantamweight Francisco Vargas tested positive for, meldonium isn’t found in any natural form such as in tainted beef, which Vargas blames for his positive test.

In a reinvigorated heavyweight field, Wilder was supposed to make his fourth title defense against Povetkin, looking down the road at a possible bout against the winner of the Wladimir Klitschko vs. Tyson Fury championship fight taking place in July. Fury and Klischko are the top top ranked heavyweights; Povetkin and Wilder are currently third and fourth.

Bryant Jennings in the ring at an open workout Wednesday in New York. Photo: HBO
Bryant Jennings in the ring at an open workout in New York. Photo: HBO

So now what for Wilder? Finding another opponent for a bout sometime this summer isn’t going to be easy. Most other contenders have filled their dance cards. Of the top men in the division Wilder hasn’t already beaten, there are a few possibilities.

German heavyweight Erkan Teper (15-0, 10 KOs) holds the IBF Intercontinental and EBU (European) heavyweight belts, and is currently ranked in the top 10 (barely). Others in the mix are Mexican Andy Ruiz, and Americans Gerald Washington and Bryant Jennings. Though Jennings has two recent losses to Klitschko and Luis Ortiz, he is enjoyable to watch and an all-American heavyweight title fight would draw fans.

Will Floyd Mayweather fight MMA star Conor McGregor?

Not a chance. Move along.

While I’d rather not give this ridiculous chatter any attention, the boxing world blew up after Floyd’s statement about the rumors on Showtime. See it here for yourself.

Floyd Mayweather is a promotional genius. He’s started most of these rumors himself. Conor McGregor is a smart cookie too and he’s doing nothing to squelch the rumors. Why should they? It’s all talk at this point, and as long as it’s all talk about both of them, they are happy to fuel the fire. Notice in the video Mayweather confirms nothing, and answers very little directly. These two are all about keeping their brand visible to make money in a million little ways, to say nothing of their insatiable need for attention.

Boxing and MMA observers all agree if the pair fights in the octagon, McGregor wins easily; if the pair fights in the squared circle, Mayweather wins easily. Unless they decide to tango in some other venue, the outcome wouldn’t be in doubt. Have them both compete on “American Ninja Warrior” head to head on Mt. Midoriyama when it returns to Las Vegas. That works for me.

The two best lightweights in boxing will find out who is the best of the best July 23: Terence Crawford Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank
The two best lightweights in boxing will find out who is the best of the best July 23: Terence Crawford Photo: Mikey Williams, Top Rank

Crawford vs. Postol set for July 23 on HBO PPV

Don’t allow your Mayweather vs. Pacquiao hangover to stop you from putting down a few bucks on Saturday, July 23 to see the two best boxers in the world at 140 pounds, Terence Crawford and Viktor Postol, meet to unify their world titles at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Give both of these men and Top Rank promoter Bob Arum credit for staging this fight, announced last week.

Fans whine and moan about “the best fighting the best.” Without question, Crawford and Postol are the best in the lightweight division. Instead of griping it shouldn’t be a pay per view, get a few friends together and come up with the $50. Fans should let promoters know they value these matchups and the only way to do it is to put your money where your mouth and your Twitter/Facebook comments are.

Arum says he would have preferred to have HBO buy the fight for the network but budgetary limitations means either staging the fight on pay-per-view or not doing it at all. Arum plans to put WBO super middleweight titleholder Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez and Oscar Valdez, both winners on the Pacquiao-Bradley III undercard, on the Crawford-Postol undercard against opponents TBA.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.

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