Miami promoter Richard Dobal believes “it’s something in the air or water.”
Perhaps not an epidemic but several notable fights scheduled through the next six weeks have been postponed, forcing promoters to cancel or scramble in saving their cards.
Danny Garcia was slated to defend his 140-pound title against former two-division champion Zab Judah on Saturday in Brooklyn, N.Y. But Garcia sustained an injury while training last month and the entire card at the Barclay’s Center was scrapped.
Veteran heavyweight Johnathon Banks wanted to prove his second-round knockout victory over touted prospect Seth Mitchell in November was not a fluke.
But Banks’ immediate rematch with Mitchell, scheduled for Saturday night in Atlantic City, will have to wait after Banks broke his right thumb in another training injury.
At least fans in Atlantic City won’t have to request refunds since Banks and Mitchell weren’t headlining the card.
Rising “pound-for-pound” fighter Adrien Broner will defend his World Boxing Council lightweight title against Gavin Rees in the main event.
Another headache for promoters was Devon Alexander’s departure from his welterweight title defense against Kelly Brock on Feb. 23 because of a bicep injury.
But reports surfaced late last week that Alexander might have pulled from fight to become a possible opponent for Floyd Mayweather Jr. when he fights again in May.
Mayweather said on his Twitter page last week that negotiations for the fight with Alexander were almost complete.
The card featuring Alexander and Brock also will go on as scheduled, with Cornelius Bundrage’s defense of his International Boxing Federation junior-middleweight belt against Ishe Smith elevated to the main event.
Even Dobal dealt with his own unforeseen fight casualty. Dobal, who promotes Miami resident Luis Franco, never expected Franco’s withdrawal from his scheduled world title fight against IBF featherweight champion Billy Dib on March 1 in Connecticut.
Franco walked out of the bout after a contract dispute with Dobal and the fighter’s manager, Henry Foster, two weeks ago.
At least the card was saved and Dib will have a title defense. The IBF moved quickly and replaced Franco, the sanctioning body’s third-rated featherweight, with Russia’s Evgeny Gradovich.
“He had been training for three weeks and knew the terms of his purse,” Dobal said of the $20,000 payday Franco was scheduled to receive for the Dib fight. “There were some details that had to be worked out but not involving what he was supposed to be paid.
“Then, suddenly one morning he left the gym, complaining that $20,000 weren’t enough and he was retiring from boxing. It’s completely befuddling.”
A person who answered Franco’s phone Saturday said he would be willing to talk about the dispute Sunday. But the phone number was out of service when dialed the following day.
“I have not been treated with respect and prefer to stop before continuing a path I have been tired of traveling,” Franco told El Nuevo Herald last week. “This [dispute] is not something that just started.”