By Rick Reeno
Sources close to WBA "regular" featherweight champion Celestino "Pelenchín" Caballero (36-4, 23KOs) have advised BoxingScene.com that Mikey Garcia (28-0, 24KOs) is no longer interested in facing him for the title. No surprise, as the fight had twists and turns on a weekly basis. Garcia is moving in another direction, with Top Rank finalizing plans to match him against WBO champion Orlando Salido (38-11-2, 26KOs) on an HBO date in October. Garcia and Salido will co-headline a card in Mexico on July 28th.
Garcia fought his way to a mandatory position in the WBA's rankings. Promoter Sampson Lewkowicz, who doesn't promoter either boxer, secured the rights to Caballero-Garcia by winning a WBA purse bid with a monetary submission of $440,000.
The fight was originally scheduled for July 28th in Indio, California and Telefutura was going to televise. Lewkowicz later secured a better deal and moved the show to September 7th at the Hard Rock Resort and Casino in Las Vegas - and Showtime was going to televise as part of their ShoBox series.
Caballero protested Lewkowicz's idea to move the fight to September, citing inactivity fears and also stating that Lewkowicz was violating the WBA's rules by staging the fight outside of the 90 day window [from the date of the purse bid].
Lewkowicz claimed that he had a deal in place until Caballero's former adviser/Panamanian promoter Rogelio Espino interfered with his plans by persuading Caballero to change his mind on fighting Garcia in September.
Both sides complained to the WBA, and the sanctioning body began to investigate the dispute. As part of their WBA's resolution, they gave Sampson Boxing LLC until September 7th to stage the fight. New contracts were due in a few days.
Caballero now misses out on the biggest pay day of his pro career, and Garcia moves on to a higher profile fight.