Former junior middleweight titlist Cornelius "K9" Bundrage and Joey Hernandez found out Tuesday just how tough the boxing business can be.
Bundrage (32-5, 19 KOs) and Hernandez (23-1-1, 13 KOs) were recently ordered to meet in a title eliminator to produce the mandatory challenger for titlist Carlos Molina. With no deal made between the camps, a purse bid was held and the result showed that their fight is essentially worthless.
Golden Boy, Bundrage's promoter, was the only bidder and won with a paltry offer of just $11,000. Yes, $11,000. To be honest, when I first got the result of the bid I thought for a minute that it was a typo. It wasn't.
As the fighter rated higher in the IBF rankings, Bundrage is entitled to 60 percent of the winning offer, which is a meager $6,600, with Hernandez getting just $4,400. Those are purses that are less than many fighters get for an eight-round preliminary fight.
Golden Boy has 90 days to put on the fight and chief executive Richard Schaefer said he might put it on one of his Fox Sports 1 dates.
Bundrage was disappointed with the result but told me that he plans to go through with the fight, although it is unclear if Hernandez, recently released by Don King and with no promoter, will participate with the purse being so tiny. Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez told me he offered Hernandez far more than $4,400 for the fight before the purse bid, but the offer, along with a promotional contract, was rejected.
"That purse bid was crazy, but this fight is more for the opportunity than the purse," Bundrage said. "But I will beat Joey Hernandez and then go get my belt back."
Bundrage, whose wife gave birth to their third child last week -- a daughter, Ariel, to go with two brothers -- lost his 154-pound title via majority decision to Ishe Smith in February and then Smith lost the belt to Molina in his first defense.
"I'm gonna take this fight because I want my belt back," Bundrage said. "I want to be a two-time world champion. I want the opportunity. The low purse could be a way of getting me to say I won't take the fight, but if I don't take the fight some other guy will take the opportunity. I feel it was disrespectful for Golden Boy to offer that kind of purse though -- $11,000? Wow."
Bundrage made the biggest purse of his career -- $300,000 -- for the fight with Smith and said he hasn't made a purse as low as $6,600 since about 2003.
"The purse bid is a low blow and low blows don't feel good," he said. "When you go from what I made my last fight to this, wow."
Schaefer said the company's deal with Bundrage runs out on Feb. 16, 2014 and that he had turned down another fight for more than 10 times what he will make for the Hernandez fight, although it was not a title eliminator.
"I'm upset but I understand it's business. I understand how the business goes," said the 40-year-old Bundrage. "I'm looking at the opportunity more than the money."