By Matt Bevan
Lee Haskins’ manager Jamie Sanigar admits his disappointment that the Bristol man didn't get to fight on the undercard to Canelo Alvarez’s win over Miguel Cotto in Las Vegas last weekend, but also expressed his joy that Haskins is now the IBF world bantamweight champion.
There was plenty of drama surrounding Haskins (32-3, 14 KO’s) last week in Vegas, when his scheduled opponent and now former champion Randy Caballero weighed in five and a half pounds overweight, but Sanigar says that there wasn't any chance of the fight happening, even at a catchweight.
Sanigar told Boxing Scene: “It was a pretty normal fight week up until the morning of the weigh-in when I got a call off Golden Boy. I thought it was just to pick up credentials, but when I arrived I knew there was a problem, as Robert Diaz of Golden Boy and Caballero’s father, who was devastated, were around a table not looking happy.
“I was told the situation, how he’d gone to bed at 119 lbs, but woke up 123 lbs, which was difficult to understand because Lee was the same and you usually lose weight overnight, as there is no fluid or food intake. I didn't tell Lee, who weighed in and saw the drama unfold as you guys did.
“It was a big shock for Lee, who didn't know what was going on. Therewas a catchweight option, but that wasn't in our best interests, as Caballero was heavier than the super bantamweight limit. He was more upset he couldn't fight in front of all the Mexican and Puerto Rican fans, who really were something else.
“Lee was then elevated from interim champion to full champion by the IBF, but we never considered the fight, as Lee’s title could have been on the line if we had fought, so if he lost, he loses the belt straight away. It would have been the shortest reign of all time! There were mixed emotions, like disappointment he wasn't going to fight on a huge stage, but joy as he is finally a world champion.”
Sanigar is now looking to assess all situations and schedule in Haskins’ first defence of his IBF belt or a potential unification fight. He also confirmed that domestic fights with Jamie McDonnell, Stuart Hall and Ryan Farrag are at the back of the queue at this current time.
He says Haskins is fully deserving of his new status and that the success is long overdue for the 31-year-old, who was last in action in June when he stopped Japanese fighter Ryosuke Iwasa at the Whitchurch Sports Centre in Bristol.
Sanigar is confident that he can deliver for Haskins in much the same way as he has for his other world champion, IBF featherweight beltholder Lee Selby, and is looking to stage a big event in Bristol to celebrate the city’s first world champion since Glenn Catley.
“We’re certain Lee can beat anyone at bantam, but we’ll have a look at all options and decide which way we want to go. It is unlikely to be against domestic guys like McDonnell, Hall or Farrag, as Lee has beaten all three already.
“McDonnell and Hall boxed for, and won world titles before Lee, whilst Farrag has developed nicely since Prizefighter. Not one of them gave Lee a chance before now and we’re in no rush to hand out title shots to them. I tried really hard to make the rematches with both McDonnell and Hall, when they held world titles, but the requests fell on deaf ears.
“We don't have to worry about a mandatory for six months, so we have some flexibility, but looking at the IBF’s top 15, there isn't one name there that jumps out and scares the life out of me, he’d beat them all.
“Lee is a big star in Bristol and both news stations are fighting to get him in the studio, so it would be great to have a homecoming event at one of the stadiums. That would be a dream come true for Lee and a great way to secure a great future for his family, which is what it is all about.”
Matt Bevan is part of Boxing Scene's UK team. Follow him on Twitter @MBevs68