A purse bid date has been assigned for a proposed title eliminator that stands less than a great chance to see the light of day.
For the second time this summer, a Jose Ramirez-Arnold Barboza fight has been ordered by a sanctioning body to enter talks. The latest development came as a surprise to many in the industry when the IBF revealed that a September 19 hearing was scheduled to determine promotional rights for the junior welterweight final eliminator.
“On August 17, 2023 the IBF ordered Jose Carlos Ramirez and Arnold Barboza Jr. to begin negotiations for the IBF Jr. Welterweight Eliminator for #1,” IBF Championship Committee chairman Carlos Ortiz stated in an official letter obtained by BoxingScene.com. “An agreement could not be reached within the time frame allowed by the IBF.
“The IBF is ordering a Purse Bid in these offices on Tuesday, September 19, 2023, at 12:00 PM EST.”
The winner will become the new IBF junior welterweight mandatory contender—if the fight happens.
Subriel Matias (19-1, 19KOs) is the reigning titleholder. As previously reported by Boxing Scene, the Puerto Rican knockout artist is set to defend versus current mandatory challenger Shohjahon Ergashev on November 4 as part of a Showtime Championship Boxing telecast from a U.S. location to be determined.
Ramirez is currently ranked number four, one spot below Ergashev. Barboza is ranked number ten but was the next available contender in line when the IBF ordered the fight. Both boxers are managed by Rick Mirigian. Ramirez is promoted by Top Rank, to whom Barboza was previously signed before he became a promotional free agent earlier this summer.
Ramirez-Barbosa was briefly in play by the WBO when it was believed that two-division lineal champion Teofimo Lopez would stick to his retirement claim after his June 10 title winning effort over Scotland’s Josh Taylor. The order was rescinded when it was confirmed that Lopez (19-1, 13KOs) opted to remain champion.
There was no further development involving Ramirez or Barbosa, both of whom are managed by Rick Mirigian, separately or versus each other. That changed on Thursday, when it was learned that the IBF ordered a title eliminator. It even came as a surprise to one of the principal parties.
“This the first time I hear about this,” Barboza said in a response to a SpaceX post by Big Fight Weekend’s Dan Rafael, who was the first to report new development.
Ramirez (28-1, 18KOs) last fought in March, when he scored an eleventh-round knockout of former IBF lightweight titlist Richard Commey in Fresno, near his hometown of Avenal, California. The former unified WBC/WBO 140-pound titlist has won two in a row since a narrow defeat to Taylor (19-1, 13KOs) in their May 2021 undisputed clash.
Barboza (28-0, 10KOs) last fought in a ten-round, unanimous decision win over former two-division titlist Jose Pedraza on February 3 in Glendale, Arizona. The win marked the fourth consecutive ten-round distance fight for the unbeaten 31-year-old Long Beach native, as well as his final fight with Top Rank.
Ironically, Top Rank would likely serve as the lead promoter should this fight move forward.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox