Lorenzo to fight Sturm in September

Marco Antonio Rubio's change of heart made for Giovanni Lorenzo's lucky day.

Lorenzo will get a second crack at a middleweight title when he faces Felix Sturm on Sept. 4 in Cologne, Germany. The deal with promoter Arena-Box was finalized Wednesday, Kurt Emhoff, Lorenzo's attorney and co-manager, told ESPN.com.

"Just got the signed contracts back from Arena. Sturm vs. Lorenzo is officially on," Emhoff said in an e-mail.

Lorenzo got the opportunity when Rubio, who had agreed to the fight a couple of weeks ago, backed out. Peter Manfredo Jr. then turned down the fight because he did not want to give Arena options on future bouts in the event he defeated Sturm.

Emhoff said he and Arena's attorney, Tony Gonzalez, "worked out the basic terms Friday night and negotiated the fine points on Saturday and Sunday, and then we signed."

Lorenzo, 29, a native of the Dominican Republic who is based in New York, fought once previously for a middleweight title in Germany in September 2009 and lost a split decision to Sebastian Sylvester.

"I think we've got a good shot to win," Emhoff said. "Sturm is coming off a long layoff and an unimpressive win over [Khoren] Gevor."

Sturm has not fought since winning a close decision against Gevor last July because he was embroiled in a dispute with promoter Universum. They recently reached a settlement under which Sturm (33-2-1, 14 KOs) bought out his contract and became a free agent, although he is working with Arena for this fight.

Lorenzo (29-2, 21 KOs) has scored early knockouts against lesser opponents in his two bouts since losing to Sylvester.

"It's now or never most likely," Emhoff said. "Tough to win in Germany but at least he's been through the experience before."

Sturm has made seven defenses during his third reign with the WBA version of the 160-pound title since regaining it for a second time in 2007. Sturm is best known in the United States for his controversial title loss to Oscar De La Hoya in their 2004 bout in Las Vegas.

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.