uan Manuel Lopez’s highly anticipated featherweight title fight against Rafael Marquez has been postponed after Marquez sustained a hand injury.
The fight had been scheduled for Sept. 18 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Promoters hope they can reschedule the fight within four weeks of the original date. It is supposed to be televised live on Showtime.
“I’m very disappointed, but I know that these things happen in boxing,” Lopez said in a statement issued by his promoter, Top Rank. “I hope the fight gets rescheduled soon and look forward to fighting Rafael Marquez.”
The fight shapes up to be one of the more intriguing on an autumn boxing schedule that lacks any major superfights, especially after Floyd Mayweather Jr. decided to skip a proposed fight this fall with pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao.
Lopez (29-0, 26 KOs) will be making the third defense of the WBO title he won with an impressive seventh-round knockout of Steven Luevano in January. Marquez (39-5, 35 KOs) is coming off a victory over Israel Vazquez that capped their epic rivalry.
“I was told that Rafael injured the thumb on his right hand,” said his co-promoter, Gary Shaw. “He tried to work through the pain in training camp, but it only made the injury worse.”
Shaw said that doctors told Marquez to refrain from activity for “a few weeks” to allow the hand to heal properly. He didn’t say when Marquez will be able to start training.
The featherweight division has become one of the most compelling in recent years, as attention moved away from the relatively weak heavyweight division to lighter weights. Lopez is joined at the top by undefeated champions such as Chris John and Yuriorkis Gamboa.
The 35-year-old Marquez is hoping to make a splash at 126 pounds after winning titles at bantamweight and super bantamweight. His only two losses over the past decade came at the hands of Vazquez, both fights that were voted Fight of the Year.
“Naturally, we’re disappointed. Fortunately, Marquez’s injury isn’t too serious,” Top Rank president Todd duBoef said. “We have already discussed the situation with the MGM Grand and Showtime and they both are working with us to find a new mutually acceptable date.
“JuanMa is very happy that he’ll still be able to fight one of Mexico’s greatest champions as well as the toughest opponent he has ever faced,” duBoef said. “We’re hopeful that we’ll have a new date to announce next week, along with information about ticket refunds for patrons who cannot travel on the new date.”
Dave Skretta, Associated Press