In what amounts to a real shame, Antonio Tarver's scheduled April 22 comeback fight -- and also boxing's return to network TV on ABC -- is off.
Joe DeGuardia, who was promoting the bout, had to cancel the affair because of severe problems finding sponsorship. With the deal he had in place -- in which ABC was not paying a licensing fee -- he was going to lose a ton of money; hundreds of thousands of dollars, apparently.
It's hard to blame DeGuardia for this, honestly. He's a businessman and it would've been a horrible business decision to go ahead with something that was clearly not going to pan out. As a boxing fan, it just sucks. Matinee boxing on network television could have been great for the sport, but it doesn't look like it's in the cards for now.
Tarver has emphatically denied rumors that the fight was called off because he was out of shape. I'm inclined to believe him. Tarver has said he wants to get three fights in before the year is out, which may just be wishcasting or big talk, but it's a nice sentiment. I have the feeling he's still pretty embarrassed by the Hopkins fight, and he's never made any bones about that, even saying Hopkins could have put him away if he'd fought more aggressively.
In other news, the June 16 edition of Boxing After Dark on HBO will reportedly feature a main event between Lovemore N'dou and Paulie Malignaggi for N'dou's light welterweight title. The co-feature could see Andre Berto back on HBO, or the possibility of Forrest/Baldomir or Forrest/Piccirillo.
The scheduled May fight between In Jin Chi and Oscar Larios is off, after Chi suffered a hand or wrist injury in training. Jhonny Gonzalez could be in action on that card, which will be main evented by Joan Guzman v. Michael Katsidis, which could be an outstanding fight.