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Michael Zerafa Exposes PBC For Stalling Career, Lara-Zerafa Reportedly Set For Undercard Of March 30 Tszyu-Thurman Show

Michael Zerafa Exposes PBC For Stalling Career, Lara-Zerafa Reportedly Set For Undercard Of March 30 Tszyu-Thurman Fight featured image
Michael Zerafa addressed his long absence from the ring and implicated PBC in delaying a title fight with WBA middleweight champion Erislandy Lara who is signed to them. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

Australian super middleweight contender Michael Zerafa recently held an interview with Thaboxingvoice he revealed the reason for remaining out of the ring for over a year since last fighting in November of 2022. Having become the mandatory contender to Cuban-American Erislandy Lara’s WBA middleweight title since last year, Zerafa dove into the circumstances that led to his bout of inactivity and the absence of a mandatory fight with Lara and found a concrete target to pin everything on; Premier Boxing Champions (PBC).

Michael Zerafa (31-4, 19 KO’s) notably has not fought for approximately fourteen months after his unanimous decision (UD) win over Danilo Creati in late 2022, and the Australian went on to explain in his interview that he had been tied down to a contract with PBC to fight Erislandy Lara (29-3-3, 17 KO’s) that prevented him from taking fights in the interim.

I’m going to throw PBC straight under the bus here because they locked me in a contract,Zerafa stated during his interview with Thaboxingvoice.

They said [talked about] the Garcia-Lara fight and [said], ‘you’re gonna be on the undercard, and you can’t fight anywhere else’, nd then that fight didn’t end up happening so I couldn’t be on the card.

They basically said wherever Lara-Garcia was going to happen was where I was going to be on the card.

In March of 2023, Zerafa was appointed as the mandatory challenger for the WBA middleweight title―which occurred after Lara became the sole world champion in the division―and was supposed to face off against the Cuban in the following months following the WBA’s mandate for the two to face each other.

Instead, Lara, who was―and still is―signed to PBC opted to fight Danny Garcia (another PBC fighter) rather than face his mandatory challenger in Zerafa, and due to the bout contract that had been arranged between the two by PBC, Zerafa was promised by a future crack at the winner between Lara-Garcia―who would have then become the WBA middleweight champion―if he stepped aside to let the two fights.

However, the fight between Lara and Garcia never emerged since it had been first reported that the two would fight in early May of 2023. Even though reports suggested the fight would occur in late 2023, the WBA eventually intervened and re-ordered the mandatory bout between Lara and Zerafa when it failed to surface.

To be concise, roughly eight months had been between when Lara and Garcia were tipped to fight against each other yet the two failed to reach an agreement throughout that entire time which severely derailed Michael Zerafa from the opportunity to become a world champion, and to stay busy as he was bound to the contract that would originally see him face Erislandy Lara.

Michael Zerafa went on to explain that PBC continuously stalled the Lara-Garcia fight up until the WBA ordered Lara and Zerafa to fight earlier this month.

We were waiting for the official date and it just kept getting pushed from June to July to August to you name it, and it was always, ‘yeah next month, I promise you. [Just] four/five weeks’.” Zerafa stated.

Remarkably, Michael Zerafa also unveiled that he had not been paid during this entire time despite having stepped aside. ‘Stepping aside’ denotes to a term in boxing where fighters, usually mandatory challengers, allow a champion to compete in a voluntary bout rather than immediately fighting their mandatory contender, depending on whether the sanctioning body―whose title the champion holds―allows it.

Zerafa continued to expand on how he was denied rightful compensation by the PBC during the entire time the Lara-Garcia fight remained absent, all while dealing with several personal issues.

There’s a lot of things on my end that were pretty bad and I’m trying to tell these guys that. I can’t [remain to] be put on the sidelines. I’ve committed to this and I earned my spot, and they just put me waiting.” Zerafa said.

Though it is the norm for mandatory fighters to be paid as they willingly choose to delay the opportunity to fight the champion, Zerafa revealed he was not compensated despite it being stipulated within his contract.

Observing Zerafa’s statements, it now appears clear that PBC managed to void their obligation to pay Zerafa by stalling the Lara-Garcia fight, thereby preventing Zerafa from receiving his just due. A Zerafa would continue to explain, promises had been made by PBC that were not kept due to the constant delays of the Lara-Garcia fight:

I tried to do the right thing. I had my win, I had my mandatory position and I was sitting there and they said, ‘look, we want to do this fight with Lara-Garcia because we had this date prior until you became a mandatory’.

I said, ‘that’s fine, I’m not gonna sit here and ruin everyone’s party. You guys do what you got to do, and I want to be involved in the undercard of that [Lara-Garcia] fight and obviously have [it] contractually that I want to fight the winner’.

Fortunately for Michael Zerafa, it now appears that his fight with Erislandy Lara is set to go ahead following reports that two fighters have reached an agreement to hold the fight on March 30 on the undercard of the main event between Tim Tszyu and Keith Thurman. If true, the WBA title will be defended by Lara who will be facing an a likely agitated and extra motivated Zerafa who will finally have the opportunity to become a world champion.