With a March 14 date against Amir Khan in Manchester set, Marco Antonio Barrera was taking a big risk even against a nobody fighter like Johnny Nolasco on January 31 in Guadalajara.
Nolasco, though, no-showed the weigh-in for the event, and was replaced by an even bigger nobody by the name of Freudis Rojas, who wound up headbutting Barrera, causing somewhere between three and 10,000 stitches depending on the report, and putting that March 14 date in jeopardy.
The Barrera camp says they'll be ready to go by March, and the fight with Khan is still on schedule for the 14th, which is just about eight weeks away right now.
But is there more to the Nolasco no-show story than meets the eye? There may be. Jake Donovan of BoxingScene.com got a tip from Boxing Times Blue Corner editor Paul Magno that could potentially wind up pretty ugly.
Rosa Diaz, Nolasco's agent, told Mexican newspaper Reforma that Barrera's brother and trainer, Jorge Barrera, contacted the Nolasco camp attempting to arrange a dive from their fighter.
Diaz said, "He said, 'We need to make sure that Nolasco doesn't make it past the fourth round,'" and intimated that because they refused to agree to such a thing, Nolasco was taken out of the fight and replaced by Rojas. The Barrera-Rojas fraud was met with harsh criticism from the Guadalajara crowd and the Mexican press.
Currently, WBC President Jose Sulaiman has his body investigating the matter, but I think it's no stretch to say that the WBC is unlikely to come up with anything, because outside of a recorded conversation or an admission of guilt, it's not like it ever becomes more than Team Barrera's word against Team Nolasco's, and the Barrera camp has a lot of credibility and history. Nolasco's team, simply put, does not.