Contender Exec Jeff Wald speaks on Season 3, Calzaghe-Manfredo, and a whole lot Mora!

By G. Leon


Contender Exec Jeff Wald speaks on Season 3, Calzaghe-Manfredo, and a whole lot Mora!

GL: How's everything Jeff? "Things have been going great for us, I think that in 2006 we showed people that we're the real deal and our fighters have showed the world that they're real deal fighters. As you know Manfredo is fighting Calzaghe and we're really excited about that. Manfredo just got back from England and we're pleased that Frank Warren got to experience the Contender's popularity first hand. While Peter was out there he attended Warren's heavyweight fight with Audley Harrison and Danny Williams and it took him an hour to get to his seat because he was signing autographs and taking pictures with fans. That fight will happen in a soccer stadium that seats 120,000. We don't expect to do anywhere near that, but Frank expects us to do 30-40,000 people and that would make it the biggest live gate ever on HBO. It's going to be a terrific fight. Both guys come to fight, there's no quit in Manfredo. He compares himself to Jake Lamotta and Arturo Gatti and he's guaranteeing a win. We've been discussing a Jermain Taylor fight for Sergio Mora, as well Shane Mosley or Vernon Forrest. Steve Forbes is going to have one more fight at 140 and then he's going to fight Souleymane M'Baye as part of what we're doing in England. We're bringing nine fighters over to England. You know how they have the Ryder Cup in golf? This is going to be the Sugar Ray Leonard Cup. Hopefully it will go on for 101 years like the Ryder cup in golf. We're going to go there to fight Frank Warren's best and we're going to do six main events that will air on two nights in England and then we'll bring them out here and air them on six different nights on ESPN."

GL: Why did the date get changed from March 3 to April 7?

Jeff Wald: "It's the weirdest thing, we had to change the date because of the field. It's a rugby field and it had to do with the grass. They have some lamp or something, but I'm not sure I don't know shit about gardening.

GL: After Jermain's victory over Ouma, Lou DiBella told Boxingtalk that Mora was indeed a viable option for Jermain's next fight. What would you say the chances of Mora being Jermain's next defense are?

JW: "I think both guys will fight somebody in the interim before they fight each other. I think it serves best for both of them. I'm not going to comment on Taylor's last fight, it's not my place to do so. But I have a lot of options with Mora. I have a feeling both guys will take an interim fight and then fight each other in the summer. After Taylor, it's my dream to have Mora fight Oscar. After Manfredo, Mora and Steve Forbes win we're going to have three world champions. Our guys have done nothing but win. We have a great matchmaker in Mike Marchionte. We have a fight coming up in Tuscon on January 12 with K9 Corneilus Bundrage and Walter Wright will fight in the co-main event on the second ESPN fight of the year. All of our guys are busy. Right now Alfonso Gomez is hosting a version of the Contender in Thailand. Now we're moving on to season three and we're going to surprise everyone with what we do."

GL: What's next for Grady Brewer?

JW: "We're talking about putting him in with Vernon Forrest. He's fought everybody before the Contender at a disadvantage, but now he's working on a level playing field and he's capable of beating anyone and we're ready to put him in with anyone. I don't think he's going to get screwed out of any decisions the way he did with Sechew Powell. Freddie Curiel is a winner and he's going to surprise a lot of people, I think he's going to be working with Buddy McGirt."

GL: Any update on Season 3?

JW: "There will be a Season 3. We're negotiating the final points of that now, but we're going to be around for a very long time."

GL: Do you know what division you're targeting yet?

JW: "I do, but I'm not going to tell you or anyone else until we have our deal done."


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