Saturday night's HBO Boxing After Dark doubleheader just got a little less enticing. WBA featherweight titlist Chris John (42-0-2, 22 KO) has pulled out of his rematch with Rocky Juarez (28-4, 20 KO) after feeling ill and fatigued. John had blood tests done, and the tests revealed some irregularities, according to BoxingScene.com's Rick Reeno.
It's a big hit, obviously, to what was a really good-looking B.A.D. card. The first John-Juarez fight in February surpassed everyone's expectations as far as being an exciting, dramatic contest, overshadowed minutes after it concluded by the main eventing Marquez-Diaz war in Houston. Paired with a promising slugfest-in-the-making between Victor Ortiz and Marcos Maidana, HBO had quite the gem lined up for Saturday.
Juarez is looking to stay on the card, and HBO wants him there, but finding an opponent on five days' notice is not going to be easy. Juarez would probably fight at either 126 or 130 (or a catchweight in between) and has never lacked for guts in taking good opponents. The problem is simply timing, lack of names at either weight, and the fact that HBO wants it to be a "suitable" opponent. Then again, HBO accepted Cosme Rivera on short notice for Alfredo Angulo recently, so if there's a journeyman with a decent record available, Juarez could fight on, with TV coverage. Guys like that have nothing to lose taking this fight.
You might recall that John had some issues before the first fight with Juarez, too, as sources then said he'd been ill and they were worried about his ability to make weight. He wound up making the limit and putting on a good fight. I worried then that if he pulled out even with legit reasons, he'd get bashed by a lot of folks who had been calling out his fluffed-up record for years, but after coming to the States and impressing in February, I think he'll get a little more slack this time than he theoretically would have last time around. It's stil disappointing, but these things happen.