IRELAND’S latest World Champion Andy Lee has been given until January 12 to agree terms with Billy Joe Saunders or the right to promote the clash will go to purse bids.
The WBO middleweight champion of the World and his team had begun talks with Saunders promoter Frank Warren re the defence within a week of the Limerick mans brilliant win over Matt Korobov, but the World Boxing Organisation have put a deadline date on negotiations.
A statement from one of the four major governing bodies reads,
“Please be advised that the parties have thirty days to negotiate an agreement for the WBO Middleweight Championship bout between Andy Lee and Billy Joe Saunders. If an accord is not reached before January 12, 2015, a Purse Bid will be ordered.”
A deal deadline is common enough practice in terms of mandatory defences and shouldn’t prove a major issue for Team Lee. Some would argue it plays into the Irish man’s hands as Frank Warren won’t want to allow the fight go to purse bids in fear of losing it to a rival promoter, meaning Lee can demand the homecoming Thomond Park clash he wants over the next two weeks of talks.
Although there is always the unknown element of purse bids and if promotional rights are open to the highest bidder the fight could end up anywhere.
However, Saunders, whose Promoter was open to coming to Ireland, but stressed London as a venue made more financial sense, had said previously he would like another bout before challenging for the strap and he might step aside to allow Lee fight in Ireland before evoking his mandatory rights.