Having undergone gall bladder surgery on Wednesday, Erik Morales has withdrawn from the scheduled HBO-televised, Jan. 28 defense of his WBC belt against Danny Garcia that was slated for the Reliant Arena in Houston, Texas, Golden Boy Promotions matchmaker Eric Gomez told RingTV.com on Monday.
The 35-year-old Morales had gallstones removed.
“Erik came out fine, and he wants to fight, but the doctor believes that he will need more time,” said Gomez. “So he’s out, and the doctor said that he probably won’t be ready until like the middle of February or sometime after that like in March.”
The card featured RING No. 7-rated junior welterweight Morales (52-7, 36 knockouts), of Mexico, opposite Garcia (22-0, 14 KOs), of Philadelphia, in addition to junior middleweight Carlos Molina (19-4-2, 6 KOs) against James Kirkland (30-1, 27 KOs).
Gomez said HBO was not interested in the opponents that were offered as a replacement for Morales by him and Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer, including former WBC lightweight beltholder Humberto Soto (57-7-2, 34 KOs), a winner of 14 straight fights, with six of them being by knockout.
Asked if Kirkland-Molina may yet be considered as a standalone, Gomez said, “everything is still up in the air.”
“I’m not sure what is going to happen. Richard is working on it,” said Gomez. “I’m waiting to hear back from him as far as what is going to be done.”
Morales has won four belts over as many different weight classes, the first Mexican to do so. Morales is coming off September’s 10th-round TKO over the previously unbeaten 21-year-old prospect, Pablo Cesar Cano, of Mexico City, to become the first Mexican fighter to win a crown in a fourth weight class.
The 23-year-old Garcia, who is rated No. 9 by THE RING, is coming off a unanimous decision over former titleholder Kendall Holt in October.
Kirkland (30-1, 27 KOs) is coming off an HBO-televised sixth-round knockout of Alfredo Angulo (20-2, 17 KOs), in Cancun, Mexico, on Nov. 5.
Molina has an unbeaten streak of 11-0-1 with two knockouts that includes having sandwiched a victory over two-time welterweight beltwinner Kermit Cintron (33-5-1, 28 KOs) in July and a draw with then-unbeaten southpaw Erislandy Lara (15-1-1, 10 KOs) in March around a seventh-round stoppage of Allen Conyers in April.
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org