HBO will be televising a split-site tripleheader on July 14th. What? Yeah, I’ve never heard of such a thing either but here goes nothin’...
Three welterweight bouts will be televised on HBO that night:
The opening bout will be Kermit Cintron defending his IBF Welterweight Title for the first time against Walter Matthysse from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ. The second bout will feature the uber-popular Arturo Gatti, fighting for the ninth straight time in Atlantic City, in a 10-round affair against former Contender star Alfonso Gomez.
The final bout of the night will be Antonio Margarito making the 8th straight defense of his WBO Welterweight Title against mandatory challenger Paul Williams. A location for Margarito-Williams has not yet been selected but officials have stated that the possible location has been narrowed down to two sites: The Home Depot Center in Carson, CA or the Gibson Amphitheater in Universal City, CA.
Apparently Gatti’s camp was very picky over who his next opponent would be and it caused quite the delay in getting a deal between HBO and Main Events completed:
HBO and Main Events had spent the last few weeks locked in a disagreement over Gatti’s opponent. The network had pared its wish list down to having Gatti fight either former lightweight titlist Paul Spadafora, who is 2-0 on a comeback, or Steve Forbes, another former “Contender” star and former junior lightweight titlist who lost a highly controversial decision to Demetrius Hopkins last month in an exciting fight.
Gatti’s team didn’t like either style for him and preferred lesser opponents such as Dmitriy Salita or Edgar Santana, neither of whom HBO would approve.
HBO gave Main Events a tentative OK on Gomez earlier this month and it made a deal with his handlers. But a few days later, on April 7, “Contender” first-season runner up Peter Manfredo—who had lost a rematch to Gomez on the series—was wiped out in three rounds by super middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe. That loss gave HBO second thoughts about using another untested “Contender” boxer against Gatti in the final fight of his HBO contract.
However, when the Margarito-Williams fight came together and Cintron-Matthysse, another potentially explosive fight, was pitched for the telecast, HBO agreed to take Gomez. With Gatti’s HBO contract coming to an end, Main Events also agreed to give HBO the right of first negotiation and a matching right on his next fight.
I’m not surprised that they were so selective of Gatti’s foe. If he loses one more time, he’s pretty much done fighting-wise and HBO most likely won’t sign him to a new deal.
Broadcasters • HBO • Promoters • Main Events • Weight Classes • Welterweight • Alfonso Gomez • Antonio Margarito • Arturo Gatti • Demetrius Hopkins • Edgar Santana • Kermit Cintron • Paul Spadafora • Paul Williams • Steve Forbes