WBC purse bid again postponed

Heavyweight titleholder Bermane Stiverne and mandatory challenger Deontay Wilder have both said repeatedly that they can't wait to fight each other.

But that's the boxing side of things.

The business side of things is another story, which is why for the second time in less than a month the WBC-mandated purse bid for the fight was postponed on Wednesday while Stiverne promoter Don King and Wilder promoter Golden Boy -- with a heavy dose of input from Wilder adviser Al Haymon -- continue to negotiate a deal for the highly anticipated fight.

A purse bid, which takes place when the camps cannot reach an agreement on a mandatory fight, was originally scheduled to take place on Sept. 12 in Las Vegas but postponed until Wednesday because the sides told the WBC they were closing in on a deal.

But Wednesday's auction was again postponed with no new date scheduled.

"There is no date," WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman said in a statement given to ESPN.com. "Both camps told me they are very close to a deal, so when I get back (from a business trip) I will assess the matter and decide."

Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar De La Hoya told ESPN.com on Sunday that he and King had agreed on a financial package for the fight but De La Hoya did not close the deal because King had not provided a site and date for the fight in the paperwork.

"Don made an offer. I'm not gonna say the offer but the proper protocol is to give me a site and a date and that's what I am waiting for," De La Hoya said. "He didn't tell me when and where the fight would be. We're OK with the money. But we want to get the fight done this year. Without a site and date, what would keep Don from just changing things? So without a site and a date in a contract we have no deal whatsoever."

Camille Estephan, Stiverne's manager, told ESPN.com on Wednesday night that King and Haymon asked for a delay in the purse bid.

"They feel they are close to an agreement," Estephan said. "There was an agreement but no date. That is why I believe Mauricio is being accommodating, because there's a deal but no date. On our end we are very close to a deal with King. The money is right for everybody but we just don't have a date or a place on the contracts I've seen."

King did not return a message seeking comment.

The reason there is no solid date yet is because it is unclear what television network will back the fight. Showtime, which has been putting on Wilder fights, is interested but has not made a deal, according to Golden Boy and Estephan. HBO, however, has shown no interest. A third network is a remote possibility.

The Wilder camp is also wary of allowing the fight to go to auction because of the possibility of rap mogul Jay Z's Roc Nation Sports, new on the boxing scene, swooping in an winning the purse bid like it did in late August, when it dramatically overbid -- nearly $2 million -- and won promotional rights to Peter Quillin's mandatory middleweight title defense against Matt Korobov.

Once Haymon, Quillin's manager, lost control of the bout to his onetime music industry rival Jay Z, he had Quillin give up the title and a career-high purse. Haymon, who is aligned with Showtime, doesn't want to lose control of the heavyweight also.

Stiverne (24-1-1, 21 KOs), 35, a native of Haiti living and training in Las Vegas, knocked out Chris Arreola in the sixth round on May 10 in Los Angeles to win the world title vacated in December when Vitali Klitschko retired to focus on his political career in Ukraine.

Stiverne's first defense was mandated to be against Wilder, but the purse bid -- a 70-30 split in Stiverne's favor -- was initially delayed until Sept. 12 because Stiverne was nursing a right hand and left shoulder injury.

Estephan said that Stiverne is healthy now, already training and anxious to face the untested Wilder.

"Bermane is in camp and getting ready," Estephan said "His injuries have subsided. He had a hand injury and a bit of a shoulder problem. The shoulder and hand have healed completely. We want to fight in December. That is goal. He is 100 percent now. We want to fight this year. We just need to get a date."

Wilder (32-0, 32 KOs), 28, of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, was a 2008 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist and the last American man to medal in Olympic boxing. He has rolled to a perfect record and mandatory status despite never facing any opponent remotely close to being a top contender.

With the mandatory fight having already been ordered, Wilder took a fight on Aug. 16 and knocked out journeyman Jason Gavern in the fourth round. Wilder has never been past the fourth round but said Wednesday that he is ready for Stiverne.

"For the record, I ain't afraid of nobody," Wilder tweeted. "Ready when you are Stiverne!!"