Top Rank Wins Purse Bid For Fight Featuring Two Guys They Don’t Promote!

Light heavyweight badass Artur Beterbiev is not, repeat NOT, promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank.

But that small fact didn’t prevent Arum’s Top Rank from bidding on Beterbiev’s next bout, date TBD, against Enrico Koelling, who also is NOT promoted by Top Rank. And winning the purse bid, held by the IBF

Weird occurence. Not crazy, Trump winning the White House weird, but nevertheless..

Andre Ward is the IBF champ and the No. 1 ranking is vacant. Beterbiev (11-0 with 11 KOs; age 32), a Canadian resident who was born in Russia, is the No. 2 man at 175 and Koelling (23-1 with just 6 KOs; age 27), promoted by the Sauerland boys in Germany, is third.

The winner of Beterbiev vs Koelling tango will win the right to fight Ward, in theory.

So, we might like to watch this scrap, if for no other reason than to see Koelling for the first time. Where might we be able to do that? On ESPN, maybe where Top Rank is now placing content?

“Beterbiev is one of the most entertaining fighters in a very interesting division,” said Top Rank exec Carl Moretti to Everlast. “Top Rank won a purse bid. Nothing more, nothing less…”

So, what about placing the fight on ESPN? A possibility?

“It is a strong possibility,” he said.

I asked Moretti if he recalled the last time a promoter won a purse bid on a fight in which he had no dog in the hunt, because my brain didn’t summon that info. “It happened—I just can’t remember when,” he said.

It is rare, we agreed.

“Like a t-bone steak,” he cracked.

My take: This sort of move is one of those curveballs you gotta love. Why? Because it is out of the norm and a move in the direction of more competition in the space, and an example of the free market working. In theory, anyway…It may be that this occured because Beterbiev and his promoter, Yvon Michel, are beefing. Whatever the reason, we like this sort of controlled “chaos.” Keeps everyone on their toes. Now, time to find some YouTube on Koelling, see if he can hang with Beterbiev.

Michael Woods
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Michael Woods. Host, TALKBOX podcast, powered by EVERLAST; 1st VP, Boxing Writers Association of America; is my site