Fights don't go through this much drama too often. The IBF cruiserweight title fight between Steve Cunningham and Matt Godfrey looks as though it's totally off now, just days after being supposedly moved to a new venue after the original plan also fell through.
Cunningham and Godfrey were set to meet on March 26, headlining Friday Night Fights alongside a Cory Spinks-Cornelius Bundrage fight for a 154-pound title. Don King, obviously, was the show's promoter. But that show went under, with almost everyone who's talking blaming King for it, while King himself is blaming ESPN.
Meanwhile, Main Events swooped in and put in a bid for the fight. They paid a little less than King did, but the fight would go ahead on March 26, still on Friday Night Fights, and now at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, where promoter Dominic Pesoli had a show scheduled.
But there was a problem: Main Events didn't tell Godfrey or his trainer, "Iceman" John Scully. They were told the fight was canceled, and at that time Godfrey stopped training.
"If they had told us, 'Look, the Vegas fight is off but keep focused, keep training, and let us go to work and we will see if we can find a new venue,' then no problem, we would have sucked it up and stayed on course.
"But this was not the case. We were told the fight is off. Period. There is a huge difference there."
In other words, since he'd stopped training, Godfrey won't fight Cunningham on March 26, and frankly he shouldn't. Cunningham is too good and the fight too great an opportunity for Godfrey to go in at anything less than 100%.
End of the day, it's a botched communication, but what stinks for Godfrey is that he'll lose his spot in the IBF rankings, and thus, lose his place in line for a title shot. Main Events president Kathy Duva told BoxingScene.com's Rick Reeno that the fight is not officially off just yet, meaning there's a chance it can be saved:
"We did everything we needed to do. We sent letters to everyone, including Burchfield and the IBF. The IBF spoke with Burchfield a few days ago. I know Main Events is ready to go forward. I know ESPN is ready to go forward and I know Steve Cunningham is ready to go forward," Duva said.
Let's hope the fight can be salvaged, but it sounds like a situation where the fighter is not to blame. If Godfrey doesn't feel prepared to fight -- that being a result of poor communication between fighter and promoter -- then it's hard to say he should just go do it. This is a chance to fight arguably the best cruiserweight in the world. It's not something to take lightly.