Former cruiserweight titlist Steve "USS" Cunningham is hopefully not going to wait too long on the sidelines waiting to regain the vacant IBF belt. After a long wait to land another title fight, a complete mess was made of a scheduled March 26 fight with Matt Godfrey, which is now completely off, and Cunningham is looking for a new opponent.
Cunningham's team is upset with the fallout of the Cunningham-Godfrey fight, as you might expect. I'm willing to give Godfrey's team the benefit of the doubt and guess there really was a miscommunication -- after all, is that so hard to believe? First thing they knew, they were on a Don King card in Las Vegas (or Sunrise, Florida), paired with a Spinks-Bundrage fight on a really good Friday Night Fights. And then that was off, and before they knew anything else, word came that they would be put on a card in Chicago that technically wasn't promoted by Main Events, who picked up the bout after King lost it.
So no, I don't find it too crazy a thought that somewhere in the middle of it all, Godfrey and promoter Jimmy Burchfield didn't quite get on the same page.
But the fact is, that fight is dead, and Cunningham isn't ready to sit around forever again. Cunningham's team says that "Contender" winner Troy Ross is the likely next opponent, as Ross is rated No. 4 by the IBF.
Katy Duva of Main Events had this to say about the now-dead Cunningham-Godfrey fight.
"The fight is now 100% off. I am extremely disappointed. I decided on Wednesday to do everything I could to salvage the March 26 date, rather than elect to move the bout to June, which was my right, because I believed that it was the best thing to do for the fighters, who had already spent a considerable amount of time, money and effort to prepare for a fight that was only days away. I know for a fact that Doug Loughrey at ESPN shared this belief, as he did everything he could to keep the fight intact.
"Steve was an absolute professional through all of this. He remained in Big Bear and continued to train at his own expense through today in the hope that he could still fight on Friday. We let both Godfrey's promoter and Livvy Cunningham know at roughly 4:30 pm on Wednesday--three hours after we all learned that DKP had canceled the fight--that we were working with ESPN to salvage the fight. In fact, Godfrey's promoter suggested to my attorney and to ESPN on Wednesday that we should investigate the possibility of finding another promoter's show on March 26 and offer them the fight. ESPN immediately contacted Dominic Pesoli of 8 Count promotions in Chicago and suggested that we work together to make it happen, which we did.
"We kept Godfrey's promoter and the Cunningham camp apprised of the situation every step of the way as it unfolded. The Godfrey camp never suggested to us or the IBF that Godfrey would not go through with the fight until after ESPN announced that we had succeeded in saving the bout on Friday night.
"How Godfrey could ignore the fact that we were all working to move Heaven and Earth to save the date is a mystery to me. Fighters are supposed to want to fight. I've never seen anything like this in my life."
Of course, Kathy Duva has no doubt seen several things like this in her life, but that is neither here nor there.
As for Cunningham-Ross, don't hold your breath. I never do when it comes to actually getting Steve Cunningham (or a scheduled opponent) in the ring.
A few other quick notes:
- The proposed Vivian Harris-Lucas Matthysse rematch is probably off. Harris was "stopped" by Matthysse earlier this year in one of the worst referee stoppages you'll ever see. Harris' team claims that Matthysse has turned down the fight. "He’s a coward plain and simple. Why else would he and his team not want to fight me? They saw that his eye was rapidly closing and that there was a lot more fight left. They know it’s a risky fight and they probably just want to go back to fighting nobodies in Argentina. They have padded his record from the start of his career.”
- Wladimir Klitschko tried to defend his brother's awful upcoming fight with Albert Sosnowski, comparing it to his own fight against Corrie Sanders. This ignores that Sanders was about 10 times the fighter that Sosnowski is, but hey.
- Antonio Margarito will fight Roberto "La Amenaza" Garcia (28-2, 21 KO) on May 8. Garcia's never beaten anyone.