Saturday Nokia Theatre card will be minus Agbeko, Mares
Following the Wednesday withdrawal of world bantamweight champion Joseph Agbeko from Saturday night's scheduled title unification bout against Hawaiian Gardens' Abner Mares, Mares opted Thursday not to participate in the card in a last-minute replacement fight.
The card will proceed with a bout between former champions Yonnhy Perez of Santa Fe Springs and Vic Darchinyan at 7:30 p.m., with Showtime televising the match.
Promoter Richard Schaefer of Golden Boy Promotions said fight fans who were planning for a bantamweight doubleheader can receive a full refund if necessary.
Agbeko backed out of the fight Wednesday after suffering sciatic nerve pain Monday following a delayed cross-country flight to LAX from New York. A medical examination ruled him out for Saturday's finale of Showtime's four-fighter bantamweight tournament.
Agbeko will undergo other tests through Monday to inspect how soon he can return to the ring.
Schaefer said "if it's a month or so," Mares would be willing to wait for the bout he has anticipated. If Agbeko needs extended time off, Schaefer said, he will urge Showtime to replace Agbeko in the tournament finale with someone else, such as the Perez-Darchinyan winner or other weight-class world champions Nonito Donaire or Anselmo Moreno.
Schaefer said he has meetings planned early next week with Agbeko promoter Don King and Showtime Sports executive Ken Hershman.
"I hope Agbeko will be ready," Schaefer said. "Abner was focused on winning the bantamweight tournament and if it has to be postponed, so be it. This tournament means something, and it should be fought to its proper conclusion, but we're not waiting six months for Agbeko."
Perez promoter Gary Shaw said he offered two other fighters in his stable as possible opponents for Mares on Saturday, but that idea was rejected, with Schaefer said, "That doesn't do anybody any good. It wouldn't make him the winner of the bantamweight tournament."
Photo: Abner Mare. Credit: Gene Blevins / Associated Press / Hoganphotos / Golden Boy Promotions