By Keith Idec
Unfortunately for Glen Tapia, his absurd Thursday afternoon has become an all-too-common occurrence for the undefeated junior middleweight from Passaic.
By 3 o’clock, Tapia thought yet another of his scheduled fights had been canceled on short notice. By 5 o’clock, the highly touted prospect’s fight was back on.
That helped Tapia avoid what would’ve been his fourth canceled fight since January. He had a ill-fated March 17 fight in Atlantic City canceled the night of March 16, after he weighed in, because the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board determined an abnormality detected during one of his opponent’s pre-fight medical exams made him unfit to fight.
That type of aggravation was what made Tapia more than willing to accept a southpaw opponent on short notice Thursday, despite that he had been training at the Garden State School of Boxing in Paterson for a right-handed foe. He’ll face Franklin Gonzalez (15-10, 10 KOs) in the co-feature of a nine-bout card Saturday night at Bally’s Events Center in Atlantic City.
"I want to fight," said Tapia, 22. "I’m excited. I’m happy. It doesn’t matter if he’s left-handed. I’m ready for anybody that they put in there."
Tapia (14-0, 8 KOs) originally was supposed to box Hilario Lopez (12-11, 8 KOs) in a middleweight match.
The non-televised fight was considered an important one because, despite Lopez’s pedestrian record, he is a durable opponent who typically fights at a higher weight than Tapia and was expected to take Tapia considerably deeper into his first scheduled eight-round bout than most of his recent opponents. They were contracted to fight at 160 pounds, six above where Tapia typically competes, and Tapia eagerly accepted the challenge.
When it came time for Lopez to travel from Boise, Idaho, to Atlantic City on Tuesday, Lopez’s trainer learned Lopez weighed 187 pounds. Three days before their scheduled weigh-in today at Bally’s, there was no way Lopez could’ve dropped a reasonable enough amount of weight for Tapia to fight him somewhere above 160.
Lopez’s unprofessional behavior particularly was upsetting to Tapia’s co-managers, Sal Alessi and Pat Lynch, and co-promoter John Lynch because Lopez had four weeks to train for the fight after he signed a contract that was to pay the anonymous journeyman $6,000, almost as much as Tapia. They so wanted Tapia to fight Saturday night they’re paying $10,000 to Gonzalez for his trouble.
Gonzalez, a native of the Dominican Republic, suffered an eighth-round TKO in his last fight by 2008 U.S. Olympian Sadam Ali (15-0, 9 KOs). He suffered that defeat June 2 in Brooklyn, in a welterweight bout, one division below where Tapia usually fights.