The Mar. 8 WBC lightweight title bout pitting champion Omar Figueroa against Ricardo Alvarez has been scrapped, according to Golden Boy Promotions matchmaker Eric Gomez.
Gomez told RingTV.com on Saturday afternoon via email that Figueroa suffered a injury that will take him off the Showtime PPV card.
Figueroa's trainer Joel Diaz informed RingTV.com that the injury was to the fighter's left wrist, which occured during sparring Friday. Alvarez will stay on the card, and Golden Boy currently is looking for a new opponent, per Gomez, but there is "no replacement yet."
The bout will be replaced by the lightweight matchup between Jorge Linares and Nihito Arakawa. Linares-Arakawa was set to be televised on Showtime Extreme prior to the pay per view.
Diaz says the injury isn't as serious as the one Figueroa suffered to his hand last year. That injury came during his Fight of the Year candidate against Arakawa last July in San Antonio, and Figueroa has been out of action since.
Diaz said that Figueroa was told to take a few weeks off, and that he could possibly return on the Apr. 19 undercard of Bernard Hopkins' light heavyweight unification against Beibut Shumenov. Gomez wouldn't confirm or deny that possibility.
RingTV.com's Lem Satterield spoke to Figueroa about the injury and the disappointment of being off the March 8 pay-per-view broadcast.
RingTV.com: What are your feelings right now?
Omar Figueroa: Definitely I'm disappointed. Nobody wanted this fight more than I did. Nobody wanted to not cancel the fight more than I did.
I mean, I'm the one who has to go through the camp all over again. I'm the one who has to stay away from my family and to stay away from my daughter, and to keep dieting and all of that.
But, you know, it just happened. You know, it just happens. But I would rather be 100 percent both mentally and physically for the fight, and then, we'll move on from there.
RTV: How is the hand?
OF: Well, you know, it's not bad to the point where it's horrible like it was back in July. I did hurt my hand, and I have been getting treatment and I have been getting therapy, ever since I have been here, and it's getting better and better.
But it's not where we want it to be, yet, and that's why we had to make that decision. We didn't want to do this, but I think that it's the best thing. But remember, we're not canceling the fight, we're just postponing it.
RTV: How do you mean?
OF: Well, that's it. That's what I want people to get through their heads is that it's not that we're canceling it, no, no, no. We're just moving it and giving my hand a little more time to heal, and we're sure and we're confident that we're going to be ready.
RTV: When did the injury happen?
OF: Well, I actually hurt it a few times during this camp, like, obviously, when I first arrived. I hurt it pretty badly. But like I've said, we've been getting therapy and we've been getting work on it.
So I got it better to the point where I was able to spar a couple of times, and then, you know, it happened again. But we kept working on it and we kept working on it.
But this time, you know, we just decided that, you know, we couldn't do it. We couldn't do it, first off, to the fans. I wanted to provide the kind of entertainment to the fans that I did in that exciting fight in July.
RTV: Against Arakawa, didn't you fight with two injured hands?
OF: Well, even though I fought with two injured hands, I went into that fight healthy, so that's what makes a big difference. This time, my hand just wasn't ready. I really wish that we coul go, and I know that a lot of people were looking forward to it.
I was lookikng forward to fighting, my family and my parents were looking forward to it, so this is a setback.
RTV: What exactly is the injury and to what hand?
OF: It's the left hand, and it's hard to explain. But it's the left hand.
RTV: What day did you officially decide that you had to pull out of the fight?
OF: Like I said, it was during sparring and I just felt it. It hurt again and it was just one of those things where I knew that I couldn't do that to myself. I couldn't do it to myself and I couldnt' do it to the fans.
RTV: So what happens now?
OF: I just need to put a little more time into letting the hand heal. I need to do that so that I can go out there and put on the show that I know that I can put on.
My goal is to try to put this in the back of my mind and to go out there and just put this behind me. When I get out there, I know that the hand will be a lot better.
What I want the fans to understand is that the fight is not cancelled. It's still on. More than likely, Alvarez will get a shot at the title and I'm more than willing to give him a shot at the title and more than willing to give him the opportunity.
That's for anybody. I'll give anyone the opportunity. It just didn't go our way, and shit happens, and you've got to move on and make the best of it. So, from now on, it's more or less cruising until April or whenever the next date is.
We've already done the hard training that we needed to do, so, now, it's more or less just maintaining and doing the work. My hands were not feeling good. That didn't happen, so we're going to work intensely on the hands.
RTV: What will you be doing to work on and improve the health of your hand?
OF: We have more leeway with the hand, now, and we'll focus more on the hand than anything. Like I've said, we've been getting therapy from one of the doctors here, and he's always doing things like massaging it.
We're getting ultra sound and doing everything that we can, because it's not bone, so I think that the ultra sound is the best thing for it. We're doing several different things.