The manager of WBO World Lightweight Champion Ricky Burns has hit out at the late cancellation of his fighters unification showdown against IBF Champion Miguel Vazquez on March 16th.
Alex Morrison, Burns' manager, has also stated that his fighter has been left "significantly" out of pocket after the third cancellation in three months. In December 2012 Burns was due to fight Liam Walsh until Walsh was involved in car accident and had to withdraw. An immediate replacement was sought and Jose Ocampo of the Philippines was drafted in but only to pull out soon after the death of his trainer.
Over the course of the past month there has been a lot of talk and speculation surrounding this fight and whether it would actually go ahead. Vazquez was quoted on camera that nothing had been signed and that ..., however a copy of the letter and emails to confirm the fight have been circulating on the internet.
Days after Vazquez's on camera comments that no contract had been signed, a photograph of Vazquez and his trainer Javier Capetillo appeared on 19th February online holding up a piece of paper believed to be the bout agreement.
Further a copy of a letter from Dean Powell, a matchmaker for Frank Warren, to Vazquez's promoter Juan Carlos Torres was produced with the letter dated 10th January 2013. Part of the letter, mainly relating to the purse, was blacked out, however it is believed that the offer on the table to Miguel Vazquez was $150,000.
In response to this offer Torres sent Powell and email on 10th January 2013 at 8.24pm GMT proclaiming, "we have a fight!"
However the rumours persisted with Vazquez claiming that he was not flying to the UK and that the fight was off.
Recently a source from the Vazquez camp claimed that the fight was off because his quote had not been met, which was in the middle of last week.
Today a copy of a medical document, dated 25th February 2013, has been released stating that Miguel Vazquez is unwell and has been forced to withdraw from the fight.
Then again in the boxing world nothing stands still and further sources have stated that Vazquez was sparring Daniel Ponce De Leon only TWO DAYS AGO!
To say that there is some severe scepticism over today's public statements is a bit of an understatement.
Only last week the word was spreading very quickly that Vazquez would not travel to the UK unless his quote was met and if it wasn't then he would be pulling out. As it has transpired, and at the time it was also mooted, that Vazquez would in fact withdraw with an "illness".
The card, which was planned for London's Wembley Arena, had began to unravel after George Groves confirmed that he was departing Frank Warren's promotional company to sign with rivals Matchroom. Nathan Cleverly, who was meant to be defending his WBO Light Heavyweight title on the bill, is also apparently ill. As a result the card has now been moved up to April 20th and it will be interesting to see if Burns vs Vazquez does go ahead on this date.
Morrison though is very unhappy at the entire situation. "We are very unhappy with this latest postponement," Morrison stated.
"Especially after the fight was called off in December [against Jose Ocampo], and now this. This is unacceptable. I spoke to Ricky this morning, as you can imagine he's upset. He's sacrificed a lot, training and the cost of sparring partners. That's about £12,000 of his own money in training costs he's now down over the last two fights. The treatment of him is pretty disrespectful."
When asked to comment on the proposed rearrangement, Morrison said: "They can say what they want about it. I'm not saying if it is or isn't going to go ahead on that day. Let's just say our relationship with Frank Warren is pretty strained."
In a statement this Monday morning, Warren said: "It's very unfortunate that Vazquez has had to withdraw so close to the fight, but it is on medical grounds, which is beyond my control, due to his viral infection, and we have his doctor's certificate confirming this.
Therefore I have had to postpone the fight, not cancelled as stated in some media reports, to Saturday, April 20 at Wembley Arena.
Everybody is disappointed by this postponement, but we have worked hard to ensure that Ricky's unification fight still goes ahead.
We apologise to fans who have booked travel and accommodation for the show and have been inconvenienced by this unavoidable change.
Tickets that have been purchased for the show will be still be valid for the new date."
However a couple of questions remain:
1. The medical document, dated 25th February 2013, stating that Miguel Vazquez could not fight on the agreed date was not commented nor released for a full week by which time news was out that Vazquez was still in the gym. Why was no press release issued last Monday (25th February) or Tuesday (26th February) stating that the fight was off whilst at the same time why were they actively selling tickets for a fight that wasn't going to happen?
2. Why did Juan Carlos Torres tell Dean Powell that "we have a fight" after responding to the offer from Burns' team only for Vazquez to turn round and say that no contract had been signed or agreed?
3. It is reported from inside Vazquez's camp that the IBF champion is wanting $400,000 for the Burns fight, Warren apparently offered $150,000. The reported money on offer is not a career high payday for Vazquez however surely an agreement had to be in place in order to announce the fight?
4. If Vazquez was sparring Ponce De Leon two days ago why the need for a medical letter dated over a week ago stating that he is ill and needs a prolonged period of rest?
As you can imagine there is an uproar amongst the boxing fans, especially those that have paid hundreds of pounds in flights, hotels and buying tickets for this card whilst at the same time many smell a rat and do not believe Vazquez has any illness and is in actual fact hanging out for the payday that he feels he is worth of a unification fight on foreign soil.