Convicted Artist Magazine

Sep 16th
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francesco-damiani-alex-garciaThere are an awful lot of boxing cancellations these days.  Not that this never happened in previous eras, but the idea of fighting hurt was a much more common one in previous generations.  Sometimes it is due to injury. sometimes offers are not accepted due to money, or family obligations that arise.  More often than not, it works out ok, and the fighter in question gets another shot.  This is not always the case, however.  While it is true that one may never recover properly if an injury is not allowed to heal, opportunities can often be the same animal.  Here are a few cases of an opportunity that was passed by, and never came again.
Alex Garcia
A decorated amateur who once fought in the finals of the World Championships, Garcia was a Southern California heavyweight moving up the ranks in the early 90's.  His ascension came along at the same time of George Foreman's return to boxing, and after each man had been feasting on soft touches, Foreman came calling for Garcia.  The payday was a whopping half-million, and Garcia was not exactly a household name at the time.  Add to that Foreman was coming off the Holyfield fight, and may be vulnerable.  Garcia's camp, however, turned it down, and for a while it looked like the right decision.  The publicity he received from turning Foreman down actually made Garcia a staple on the USA Tuesday Night Fights series.  It was there, however, that he was eventually KO'd by journeyman Mike Evans, and then decisioned by John Ruiz and Joe Hipp.  Not a great move, as it turned out.  The Foreman fight would have been his biggest money and his biggest exposure.
Francesco Damiani
The 1984 silver medalist had a good start to his pro career, scoring big KOs on his way to a then-lightly regarded WBO title win.  His only loss was when he lost that title to Ray Mercer.  Damiani was well ahead when he suffered a broken nose, and stayed down.  It was a forgiveable loss, but was an indication of his lack of fighting spirit.  After Holyfield-Tyson was KO'd in 1991 due to a rib injury, Holyfield elected to fight anyway, and Damiani was offered the title shot.  He initially accepted, yet with only days remaining, he pulled out of the fight with a knee injury.  He did so against everyone's wishes, including his wife.  Damiani claimed that the shots recommended to clear him to fight made him sick.  He turned down 750k to avoid an ill feeling.  He only fought a few more times, retiring after being KO'd by Oliver McCall, for a lot less money.
Andre Ward
I know.  I know.  On the list of things Ward has done to stall a brilliant career, cancellations have not been the biggest.  In fact, he was one of the few fighters not bogged down during the Super Six by injuries.  However, his big fight against Pavlik was postponed twice, and would have brought him big money for a fairly easy fight.  Pavlik was a world class fighter, but was too slow and shot to have competed with a prime Ward.  Add to that, Ward was cancelling due to his shoulder, which seemed an odd time to correct a decade old injury.  Pavlik, however, began suffering medical problems, and promptly retired.  That was nearly two years ago, and Ward has only fought once, while he battles his promoter in court.

Chris Strait

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