BOXING Pavlik-Zuniga fight is canceled
An event participant was injured while training for her own fight.
VINDICATOR STAFF/WIRE REPORTS
YOUNGSTOWN--Kelly Pavlik's middleweight fight against Fulgencio Zuniga, scheduled for July 30 at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, has been canceled.
Pavlik's trainer, Jack Loew, was notified late Wednesday by Cameron Dunkin that one of the main event participants, Lucia Rijker, ruptured her left Achilles tendon while training for her lightweight fight against Christy Martin.
"Bob Arum [of Top Rank, Inc.] feels that the strength of that show was the main event and without it there would be no sales," said Dunkin, Pavlik's Las Vegas-based co-manager, "but he also said the worst thing about this cancellation is what it does to Kelly Pavlik, because he is now somewhere in the middle of the entire middleweight package and we want to keep him active."
Loew, angry because of the training time Pavlik put into this bout, was told he will be put on Top Rank show as soon as possible, which could be as soon as next week.
Zuniga (17-1-1) remains the likely opponent for Pavlik, according to Loew. He said both Arum and Dunkin agreed that this is the best scenario and with a win Pavlik (25-0) could get his deserved recognition in the middleweight division.
Meanwhile, Rijker underwent surgery Thursday in Los Angeles to repair the Achilles tendon.
Rijker hurt herself Tuesday in Las Vegas.
Top Rank spokesman Bill Caplan said the 90-minute operation, performed by Tony Daly, "was very successful and the prognosis is good for recovery."
"She'll be wearing a hard cast for a month and a half, then a brace and will be rehabbing for another two and a half months," Caplan said. "If everything goes well, she then will return to the gym to train."
The injury was a complete rupture of the tendon approximately 11/2 inches above Rijker's heel, Caplan said.
Arum said he is uncertain whether he will reschedule the bout.
Rijker and Martin, both 37, were guaranteed $250,000 each, and the winner would have received another $750,000.
The idea for the match came when "Million Dollar Baby," the 2004 Academy Award-winning movie, proved extremely popular. Rijker played Billy the Blue Bear in the film.