Martin Murray's visa issues are preventing him from coming to the States for a June shot at Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (Photo by Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr's next fight is still set for June, but it won't be against Britain's Martin Murray, who is unable to obtain a visa in time. Murray reportedly spent some time in jail in his early 20s. From RingTV.com:
"They (Murray's management) didn't tell us about it," Bob Arum of Top Rank told RingTV.com. "They thought that it wasn't relevant. We lost a lot of time. We can't rely on Murray for the fight. We just can't. It's unfortunate, but we can't. He would have been a good opponent and all of that sort of stuff, but it is what it is."
Arum says they will quickly work with HBO and Chavez's team to find a suitable opponent. We all know Andy Lee is out there waiting, but the Chavez camp has reportedly twice turned him down simply because he's left-handed. Sergio Martinez just fought and there's a decent chance he'd be ready again by mid-June, especially for this type of money, but unless the WBC actually enforces that and Chavez/Top Rank don't just say "Not right now" and give the belt back, that's not likely either.
So who else is out there?
Actually, the pickings are really slim right now. HBO has already given main event slots to Sebastian Zbik, Peter Manfredo Jr, and Marco Antonio Rubio against Chavez, which is bad enough, and the division is low on guys who will (1) want to come lose (most likely) to Chavez in Texas and (2) are available.
So what you have to do is look down a division for someone to come up. There's one guy in particular who fits:
- He's not busy.
- He's about out of "potential.'
- He comes to fight and it would be worthwhile as a "stay-busy" fight, and maybe could result in the upset on the right night.
- He's promoted by Top Rank.
Only problem is:
- JCC Jr and Vanes Martirosyan are both trained by Freddie Roach.
Even at 154 there aren't many available, even halfway-credible options. I mean you give this a good look-over, and jeez, they'd seriously be just as well off giving Rubio a rematch. Darren Barker, who is reportedly injured, could work if he were available for June 16, but it's no guarantee HBO would want to feature him right away after his October loss to Martinez.
Without Murray, it's a tough spot for Top Rank to make the kind of fight they want. Murray was a legit opponent. There aren't many of those out there right now who fit the bill for June 16.