Cotto-Kirkland Cancelled: A History Of Scratched Bouts



Cotto-Kirkland Cancelled: A History Of Scratched Bouts
   The Lee Selby-Jonathan Barros featherweight championship fight cancellation on January 25, 2017 comes right after a failed drug test by Andrzej Wawrzyk, leading to him being replaced by Gerald Washington to fight Deontay Wilder in a heavyweight championship bout on February 25th.  And then you get word that the Feb. 25 fight between Miguel Cotto and James Kirkland is OFF, because, it is said, Kirkland busted his nose.
In the past year, drug test failures have been the main culprit behind fights not taking place. Alexander Povetkin has had consecutive fights against Wilder and Bermane Stiverne called off while Lucas Browne had his fight against Shannon Briggs taken away because of another positive drug test.
Boxing has a long history of bouts being cancelled, some for unfortunate injuries and some in what can only be explained as bizarre circumstances. Here are some noteworthy fights to be affected by unforseen problems.
    Perhaps the most infamous cancellation in boxing history was the light heavyweight championship rematch on February 25th, 1979 between Mike Rossman and Victor Galindez. Galindez and his team were unhappy with the judges chosen for the bout and refused to fight, leaving Rossman in the ring waiting, until Bob Arum informed him the fight would not take place. They rescheduled the rematch on April 14, 1979 and Galindez regained the title with a 9th round TKO.
   More recently, Jeff Lacy and Rayco Saunders were ready to square off in September 20, 2014. Lacy was already in the ring when the Washington D.C. commission informed the fighters that the bout would be cancelled because the promoter did not provide money for the fighters to be paid afterwards.
   An under celebrated accomplishment in boxing history happened when Alejandro Montiel pulled out of his flyweight title fight against Jose Lopez a few hours before it was set to begin on December 18, 1999. Isidro Garcia was in attendance and stepped in at the last possible moment, borrowing equipment and in true Hollywood fashion, won the championship by unanimous decision.
   Steve Robinson became featherweight champion in similar fashion on April 17, 1993 when he beat John Davison with only 2 days notice after defending champion Ruben Palacios tested positive for HIV. A potentially exciting middleweight title fight between two big punchers didn't happen when Lamar Parks tested positive for HIV ahead of his bout against Gerald McClellan and Tommy Morrison had his heavyweight contest against Arthur Weathers scrapped after he was diagnosed with HIV.
   Some entire cards have become unraveled for various reasons and mayhem was the result. On February 23rd 1982, Gerry Cooney knocked out Ken Norton in one round. What isn't well remembered is that originally an all star lineup of championship fights was scheduled until infamous promoter Harold Smith was caught in a huge money scam. A light heavyweight unification match between Matthew Saad Muhammad and Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, Wilfred Benitez vs. Tommy Hearns, Wilfredo Gomez vs. Mike Ayala and Hilmer Kenty vs. Alexis Arguello were all dropped from the event.
   December 12, 1986 was supposed to see a night of boxing headlined by Tim Witherspoon fighting Tony Tubbs in a heavyweight championship rematch and featuring Julio Cesar Chavez vs. Juan Laporte, Tyrell Biggs vs. Greg Page, Buster Douglas vs. Pinklon Thomas and Bonecrusher Smith vs. Mitch “Blood” Green. Only the Chavez-Laporte fight came off as originally planned. Tubbs dropped out with an injury or because he was unhappy about his paycheck depending on who you listen to. Witherspoon threatened to drop out up until the day of the fight because of his unhappiness with his payday as well. Apparently Tyrell Biggs was first offered the opportunity to fight Witherspoon, but again, depending on what story you believe, either the Duva's asked for too much money for Biggs or Don King asked for too many options on Biggs. Biggs wound up defeating Renaldo Sniped in a ten round decision. Bonecrusher wound up taking the fight, leaving Green without an opponent, which angered him to the point of attacking manager Carl King. Smith scored a huge upset stopping Witherspoon in one round. Douglas and Thomas never fought and Greg Page didn't fight that night as well.
   Another card to have problems was Felix Trinidad-Terry Norris in August of 1997 which got switched to Trinidad-Laurent Boudouani and finally Trinidad-Troy Waters. Lonnie Bradley-Julio Cesar Green got switched to Green fighting William Joppy for that event.
   Cancelled cards include Tommy Morrison-Herbie Hide, Ray Mercer-Frank Bruno, Steve Collins-Lonnie Beasley and Rafael Ruelas-Billy Schwer in 1994 and 1998 seeing the Meldrick Taylor-Lonnie Smith, Iran Barkley-Alex Stewart card and the Evander Holyfield-Henry Akinwande, Ray Mercer, Christy Martin and William Joppy vs. Roberto Duran ppv did not happen. In January of 1999 the long awaited George Foreman-Larry Holmes matchup scheduled for the Houston Astrodome was cancelled after money problems arose. James Toney was set to fight John McClain on the undercard and briefly was going to fight Holmes as a replacement for Big George, but that fell through as well.
   Other fights over the years to wind up not happening were:
   Joan Guzman not making weight vs. Nate Campbell and Vicente Mosquera, Jose Luis Castillo not making weight in his scheduled third fight against Diego Corrales and vs.Tim Bradley as well as Eddie Mustafa Muhammad failing to make weight for his rematch with Michael Spinks.
   James J Braddock-Max Schmeling = 1937
   Jake LaMotta-Marcel Cerdan 2 = 1949
   Ken Buchanan-Mando Ramos = 1971
   Gerry Cooney-Earnie Shavers = 1980
   Larry Holmes-John Tate and Holmes-Gerrie Coetzee = 1984
   Ike Quartey-Pernell Whitaker, Quartey-Andre Pestriav, Quartey-Felix Trinidad = 1998
   Sugar Ray Leonard-Roger Stafford = 1982
   Sugar Ray Leonard-Danny Phippen = 1997
   Oscar De La Hoya-Lamar Murphy, Shannon Briggs-Mitch Green = 1995
   Oscar De La Hoya-Roman Karmazin = 2001
   Mike Tyson-Ray Mercer = 2002
   Andre Ward-Andre Dirrell = 2010
   Tommy Hearns-James “Hard Rock” Green = 1984 and Hearns-Franco Wanyama = 1995
   Vitali Klitschko-Razor Ruddock = 2000
   Vitali Klitschko-Hasim Rahman = 2005
   Hasim Rahman-David Izon = 2001
   Lennox Lewis-Kirk Johnson = 2003
   Steve Collins-Joe Calzaghe = 1997
   Shane Mosley-Ivan Robinson =1998, Mosley- Zab Judah = 2008 and Mosley-Andre Berto=2010