Showtime Bantamweight Update: Darchinyan-Perez Show Goes On, Mares Won't Fight

Well, I've got good news and I've got bad news.

After news broke last night that bantamweight contender Joseph Agbeko would be pulling out of his tournament final fight on Saturday against Abner Mares, promoters rushed to find a suitable late-notice replacement opponent for Mares, but have come up empty. That's the bad news.

The good news is that Showtime will still be going live with a fight from the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles on Saturday night, as the consolation bout between Colombia's Yonnhy Perez and Australia-based Armenian Vic Darchinyan will go on as planned, salvaging a show that could easily have been lost.

Perez-Darchinyan now feels far less like a tournament consolation fight than what it really is, which is a terrific matchup between top bantamweight talents and contenders. Both need the win in a big way to stay in top-tier contention, because the division is highly competitive right now.

It's a big blow for Mares, but finding an opponent so quickly was obviously not going to be easy. Tomoki Kameda and Eric Morel seemed like possibilities, but Kameda declined rushing over from Manila (where he's training) to take a very risky fight for a 19-year-old prospect, and Morel is currently on vacation. But the good news is that Darchinyan, Perez, and the guys on the undercard that won't be on TV will still be getting the paydays they expected.

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