As previously reported, the IBF sent a letter to 135-pound world titlist Robert Easter Jr. on Monday notifying him of his obligation to fight mandatory challenger Richard Commey in a rematch of their September 2016 encounter. The letter states that negotiations must conclude by April 12. However, a decision could come sooner as Commey’s handlers have requested an immediate purse bid.
The purse bid is scheduled for March 26 at the IBF corporate office in Springfield, New Jersey.
“I wrote the letter to [IBF Chairman] Lindsey Tucker advising them to go straight to purse bid,” said Commey manager Michael Amoo-Bediako to BoxingAfrica.com.
“The previous negotiation between Team Easter and Richard’s former promoter dragged out and didn’t give Richard enough time to prepare for Easter,” Amoo-Bediako noted. “Richard arrived in the U.S. only one week before the fight. This time, we want to make sure we give him the best opportunity to beat Easter and win the world title.”
It’s unlikely the bout goes to purse bid as a deal will probably be reached prior to March 26.
Easter and Commey fought for the vacant IBF strap in their first meeting. The fight was a strong contender for Fight of the Year. Easter, 27, eked out a razor-thin split decision that could have easily gone the other way. Ghana’s Commey, 31, earned another shot at that title last Saturday, when he stopped previously-undefeated Alejandro Luna in the sixth round of their IBF world lightweight title eliminator.
Easter sat ringside for Commey-Luna, but set his sights on WBC world lightweight titlist Mikey Garcia, who won a unanimous decision over Sergey Lipinets in the main event of that card.
“We’re looking forward to the Mikey Garcia fight,” Easter said. “And if that opportunity don’t come, then yeah, we could fight Richard Commey again. You know, I never duck and dodge nobody.”
The IBF’s orders may have put a kibosh on the unification talk.
In an interview with ESPN Deportes, Garcia’s brother and trainer Robert Garcia said, “Right now it is most likely that [Mikey] will remain at 140 pounds. It was his [second] fight [at the weight] and he looked good. He took some risks on some occasions and he was hit, but we were surprised by just how well he did at the weight. I think at 140 he’s very strong, and we will see what happens.”
“On Saturday, Kiryl Relikh was also crowned as a world champion,” he pointed out. “And this Saturday, José Ramírez or Amir Imam will win [the WBC title]. The good thing is, that there are possibilities and we could even move up to welterweight if a good opportunity comes up…you know that Mikey likes those strong challenges.”
Should Garcia remain above 135lbs, Easter may have no choice but to take on the Commey rematch.
Stay tuned to BoxingAfrica.com for more details.