In a very disappointing bit of news, BoxingScene.com's Rick Reeno reports that light heavyweight titlist Tavoris Cloud has withdrawn from his April 10 fight with Glen Johnson, claiming a hamstring injury. In "unrelated news," Cloud has signed with Don King, meaning a legal battle is on the horizon.
Cloud was fighting for Richie Boy Promotions, but allegedly their contract is not valid. Though Cloud's injury is the official reason he's pulling out of the fight, Reeno says that everyone is blaming King for the cancellation of the fight, but they're probably the exact people you'd expect would blame King, i.e. those that are burned by Cloud signing with DKP.
As for Cloud signing with King, that's a whole other ball of wax. Everyone has their feelings on Don King and I'll leave all that out of it, but the fact is he's just not much of a promoter anymore. If Cloud had wanted to sign with a big dog promoter, I'm sure Top Rank, Golden Boy or DiBella would have been more than happy to talk turkey with him, and they are all far more active as fight promoters than King is these days. Look at what's happened to Devon Alexander's development under King. The fact that he holds a world title is pure talent, really, and he's getting his first HBO main event on Saturday. But it's been a long, frustrating road for Alexander, and his team has not been shy about their feelings for King's poor steering of Alexander's career.
Cloud (20-0, 18 KO) is 28 years old already. I know that's not old, but it's not exactly young for a guy with 20 pro fights, either. And he is very talented, a machine of a fighter who has an entertaining style and could be a real TV star with the way he goes about his business once the bell rings.
But Cloud also sat on his mandatory for a year while knowing full well he wasn't going to get a fight with Chad Dawson, who then held the IBF belt that Cloud now has. Cloud won it against Clinton Woods in August, and has sat out since then, too. The fight with Woods was Cloud's first in 12 months.
I'm also not saying that King won't be a better political promoter than the guys with whom Cloud was working. He probably will be. But overall, Don just doesn't get many TV dates anymore, and his stable of fighters is pretty lacking. That could be a strength if he used his limited crop to really focus in on a few guys (Alexander, Cloud, Joseph Agbeko, etc.), but he hasn't proven that he'll do that.
Still, King isn't looking to vacate, at least not now. Right now, they're asking for a medical extension.
For more on the situation, Dan Rafael of ESPN.com has quotes from Lou DiBella that will lead plenty to believe the injury is a sham.
To replace Cloud-Johnson as the co-feature to Andre Berto-Carlos Quintana on April 10, HBO is already trying to set up a featherweight battle between junior featherweight titlist Celestino Caballero and Indonesian Daud Yordan. That's a very suitable replacement, and the winner would be right in the hunt as HBO starts focusing in on the featherweights, putting heavy stock into Juan Manuel Lopez and Yuriorkis Gamboa in particular.