When the WBC announced on Saturday that the purse bid for the mandatory fight between junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia and Viktor Postol, the organization’s No. 1 contender, had been canceled the initial thought was that the camps had made a deal for a pretty interesting fight.
Usually, a purse bid is delayed when the camps tell the organization they are close to a deal, so perhaps it was true all along that the reps for Garcia (Golden Boy and adviser Al Haymon, although it is Haymon who calls the shots) and Postol (co-promoters Elite Boxing and Top Rank and manager Vadim Kornilov) were getting closer to making the fight.
And when a purse bid is canceled it usually means a deal has been struck. In the case of Garcia-Postol a deal was struck -- but not for the fight.
Instead, the WBC announced that “both parties have reached an agreement, the specific details of which will be announced in the near future.”
WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman went so far as to say, “I am extremely satisfied with the good faith agreement reached by the parties involved which will generate very good opportunities for the fighters, which is the top priority for all of us involved in this great sport."
What Sulaiman and nobody else will say is that there is almost no chance that Garcia and Postol ever share the ring and that is a shame. Sulaiman using the phrase “good faith” made me laugh because, in my opinion, there is nothing about this deal that is in “good faith.”
The deal they made was for Haymon to pay Postol a substantial fee to step aside and not force the mandatory fight, with both fighters permitted to take optional bouts within the next four months, after which Postol will still be the mandatory challenger (assuming he wins his interim bout).
All that this means, in my view, is that Garcia has no intention of ever facing Postol (26-0, 11 KOs). Or, rather, that Haymon has no intention of allowing the fight to happen since he has no control over Postol, who looked excellent knocking out Selcuk Aydin in the 11th round of the title eliminator in May on HBO on the Juan Manuel Marquez-Mike Alvarado undercard and who would give Garcia a very hard night.
Sounds familiar, right? This Garcia-Postol fight avoidance is the same thing Haymon did by having middleweight titlist Peter Quillin vacate his belt in August in order to avoid facing dangerous mandatory challenger Matt Korobov (for a career-high purse of more than $1.4 million) since Haymon did not control Korobov. That happened after the purse-bid deadline was extended time and again on Quillin’s behalf until the WBO finally gave a hard deadline. A half hour before that hard deadline, Quillin vacated.
“There is a step-aside agreement that we have finalized with Al and Golden Boy,” Kornilov told ESPN.com, although he declined to reveal the dollar figure. “Postol and Garcia will both [have] an option to take other fights in the next four months and then Postol will again be in the mandatory position.”
Kornilov said the agreement calls for the interim bouts to take place by the end of February with the Garcia-Postol fight due within 90 days after that, assuming they both win the interim bouts.
“This option worked out well for all of us at this time and we decided to let Garcia fight a big fight that they are planning before defending [against] Postol,” Kornilov said.
Kornilov holds out hope that Garcia will ultimately face Postol, but more likely what is at work here is that Haymon bought enough time to finally match Garcia with another of his fighters, fellow titlist Lamont Peterson, in the unification bout that should have happened in August but instead resulted in each fighting separate bouts on the worst card of the year as they each blitzed pathetic opponents for premium cable money in pure mismatches.
So perhaps Philadelphia’s Garcia (29-0, 17 KOs) and Peterson will meet, or maybe Garcia will fight somebody less threatening than Postol. And then my prediction is that Garcia will vacate his WBC belt. He could hang on to the other alphabet belt he has or, more likely, move up to welterweight, which Garcia talked about doing in the wake of his poor performance in a controversial majority decision win against Mauricio Herrera in March. Garcia said he had trouble making weight for the fight.
For Ukraine’s Postol, accepting the step-aside deal was a no-brainer. He’s receiving a six-figure payout to wait no more than seven months to either fight Garcia for a big purse (as unlikely as that is of actually happening) or to get a shot at the vacant belt while also being able to take an interim bout against a handpicked opponent.
“[That’s] exactly why we decided to do this, and the bonus was significant,” Kornilov said. “We want to have Viktor fight by the end of the year, but we have an agreement that he fights on Garcia's undercard as an option if we want to.”
If Postol indeed fights on Garcia’s next undercard that is probably about as close as they will ever get to sharing the ring, because this so-called agreement is nothing more than a means for Garcia -- really Haymon -- to avoid the fight.