Top Rank Inc. CEO Bob Arum confirmed that he has been informed that WBC middleweight titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. has suffered a hand injury that will likely force the cancellation of his scheduled defense against Ronald Hearns that is slated for his native Culiacan, Mex., on Sept. 17.
BoxingScene.com initially reported the injury.
“[Chavez’s manager] Billy Keane called me a couple of hours ago to say that Chavez hurt his hand,” Arum told RingTV.com. “He said that he had cut his hand on a cieling fan in his house when he was exercising about four or five days ago.”
The 25-year-old Chavez Jr. (43-0-1, 30 knockouts) had stitches placed into his hand, but was advised by the attending doctor not to fight.
“They went to the doctor and they got it stitched up, and he was using it while he was sparring with it. But it blew up on him,” said Arum. “So he went back to see the doctor, and that’s the last that I knew. But my feeling is that the doctor’s not going to let it continue.”
Arum was not directly involved with promoting Chavez Jr.-Hearns, and acknowledged that he was against the fight from the beginning for a number of reasons. Among the reasons was the fact that Chavez already has a bout lined up against Peter Manfredo Jr. (37-6, 20 KOs) for Nov. 19.
“Absolutely I was against him fighting, and I had absolutely nothing to do with this event at all because I didn’t think that he should fight,” said Arum.
“So if they say that Bob Arum was absolutely against him fighting, well, then, they’re right, I was. But he decided to fight, and he decided to fight against my wishes. I had nothing to do with this event.”
In addition, five-time Trainer of The Year, Freddie Roach, was unsure whether he would be in the corner Chavez Jr. due to a potential scheduling conflict.
Roach was committed to the press tour for the third bout between WBO welterweight beltholder Manny Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 knockouts) and WBO and WBA light weight titleholder Juan Manuel Marquez (53-5-1, 39 KOs).
Pacquiao-Marquez III is slated for Nov. 12 in Las Vegas. Roach is locked in for the four-city tour of news conferences for Pacquiao-Marquez, which begins on Sept. 3.
The tour’s ending won’t happen until around Sept. 10 or 11 — “about a week prior to Chavez’s fight against Hearns,” said Arum.
The Pacquiao-Marquez tour ends in Marquez’s native Mexico City, which would allow Roach some time with Chavez if he were to stay in Mexico City.
But that would mean Roach would spend less than two months training Pacquiao full time for Marquez. Roach and assistant Alex Ariza, a strength and conditioning guru, have worked the past four fights of Chavez Jr.
There had been speculation that Chavez Jr. was having trouble making weight. Roach told RingTV.com on Aug. 16 that Chavez Jr. “had a struggle to get his weight down, and that’s not a good thing before this type of fight.”
Under the circumstances, Arum said that he is prepared for speculation that he had something to do with Chavez’s pulling out of the fight, particularly if it comes from the rival camp of the 32-year-old Hearns (26-2, 20 KOs) of Southfield, Mich.
“That’s crazy. But it’s always that way that I’m going to get blamed. I know that for everything,” said Arum. “It’s going to be like ‘[Bob Arum] didn’t want him to fight, and therefore, he’s not fighting, and, therefore,’ it’s my fault. If I didn’t want him to fight, then why was he going ahead with the fight?”
Keane could not be reached for comment.
It is the second time in the past nine months that Chavez Jr. has pulled out of a scheduled bout.
Four days before they were scheduled to fight, Chavez cited a 103-degree fever as his reason for not facing New Jersey junior middleweight Pawel Wolak in November of last year.
Wolak knocked out Chavez’s replacement, Jose Pinzon.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com