Lightweight champion Omar Figueroa injures hand out for the Canelo- Angulo card

By Dan Rafael

  

Lightweight titlist Omar Figueroa, who has been out of action since July because of hand injuries suffered in his last fight, injured his left hand in training, forcing him to withdraw from his first defense next week, Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com on Saturday.

Figueroa was scheduled to defend his 135-pound belt against Ricardo Alvarez on March 8 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in one of the Showtime PPV undercard bouts on the show headlined by former junior middleweight titlist Canelo Alvarez (42-1-1, 30 KOs) -- Ricardo's younger brother -- facing Alfredo Angulo (22-3, 18 KOs).

Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez told ESPN.com that Figueroa injured his hand on Friday.

"It's the same thing he did to the hand in the last fight against (Nihito) Arakawa," Gomez said. "He injured it and when he woke up (Saturday) morning and it was still swollen and he was in a lot of pain. There was no way he could fight next week."

Said Schaefer, "Omar is injured, so that's a disappointment for everyone. I'm very disappointed that Ricardo doesn't get the opportunity to fight for the world title. I know it's a big disappointment for Ricardo and for Omar as well not to be able to defend his title.

"He really wanted to be on this big stage in Las Vegas on a Canelo undercard. This was the biggest fight of both of their careers. So now we have to regroup and eventually the fight will happen. It's just not going to be next weekend. Now we have to determine when Omar is going to be back, but we have some (Showtime) dates in April and May."

The scheduled 10-round lightweight match between former junior lightweight and featherweight titlist Jorge Linares (35-3, 23 KOs) -- a Venezuelan living in Japan -- and Japan's Arakawa (24-3-1, 16 KOs), will take the place of Figueroa-Alvarez on the pay-per-view, Schaefer said.

Initially, Linares-Arikawa was going to air live on Showtime as a prelude to the pay-per-view part of the card.

Schaefer said he hopes to keep Ricardo Alvarez on the card against a new opponent, although his bout would flip with Linares-Arikawa and air in the slot on Showtime ahead of the pay-per-view telecast.

Figueroa (22-0-1, 17 KOs) of Weslaco, Texas, hurt both of his hands when he won a vacant interim belt in July by outpointing Arakawa in a savage fight of the year candidate. Arikawa has also been idle since that bout.

Mexico's Ricardo Alvarez (23-2-3, 14 KOs), who is coming off a difficult majority decision win against Rod Salka on Dec. 14, was going to drop down in weight from the junior welterweight division to challenge Figueroa.

The other pay-per-view bouts are junior featherweight titlist Leo Santa Cruz (26-0-1, 15 KOs) in his second defense against mandatory challenger and former two-time junior bantamweight titleholder Cristian Mijares (49-7-2, 24 KOs) in an all-Mexican clash and junior middleweight titlist Carlos Molina (22-5-2, 6 KOs) of Chicago making his first defense against Houston's Jermall Charlo (17-0, 13 KOs), a top prospect taking a big step up in competition.

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