By Keith Idec
Glen Tapia and his handlers are confident that the cancellation of his fight Friday was the result of the New York State Athletic Commission erring heavily on the side of caution.
Tapia, of Passaic, N.J., has fought each of his 22 professional fights with the seemingly minor blood abnormality that caused the NYSAC to scrap his fight against France’s Salim Larbi. The eight-round bout between the 24-year-old Tapia (21-1, 13 KOs) and the 27-year-old Larbi (19-5-2, 7 KOs) was scheduled to be part of the non-televised portion of the Gennady Golovkin-Daniel Geale undercard at Madison Square Garden.
When Tapia arrived in Manhattan on Friday afternoon for the weigh-in, however, he was informed that the NYSAC decided not to license him based on a blood test New Jersey’s State Athletic Control Board administered prior to Tapia’s June 14 fight in Atlantic City. The NYSAC doesn’t require the aforementioned blood test for licensure and its medical staff made its decision based on the New Jersey test taken earlier this year, in addition to a recent trip to a New Jersey hematologist.
“It’s annoying because I’ve been training all this time and I’ve got a lot of fans coming to support me,” said Tapia, who fought twice in New York in 2013. “I feel bad for my fans because I wanted to give them a show.”
Tapia and his co-managers, Sal Alessi and Pat Lynch, confirmed Friday that Tapia has a genetic blood disorder that makes his blood slightly less likely to clot than that of the average person.
They’re sure clotting isn’t an issue for Tapia because the junior middleweight contender suffered a badly broken nose as an amateur, as well as cuts and a fractured jaw as a professional, and bleeding never led to a serious problem. Alessi and Lynch intend to send Tapia to another hematologist in California, which they hope alleviates any concerns about licensing him for future fights.
He has been licensed to fight in New Jersey, New York, Florida, Indiana, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Texas since he made his pro debut in December 2008. Tapia tentatively is scheduled to return to the ring either Oct. 4 or Oct. 11 at Bally’s in Atlantic City.
Meanwhile, rather than fight Saturday night, Tapia will have to settle for watching the Golovkin-Geale card alongside his trainer, Freddie Roach, from ringside seats. This ill-fated fight against Larbi would’ve marked the first time Roach worked Tapia’s corner since agreeing to train Tapia earlier this year, following his lone loss – a sixth-round TKO against heavy-handed James Kirkland (32-1, 28 KOs) on Dec. 7 in Atlantic City.
Roach wasn’t with Tapia when he stopped journeyman Keenan Collins (15-9-3, 10 KOs) in the first round June 14 in Atlantic City because Roach worked Russia’s Ruslan Provodnikov’s corner the same night at Barclays Center, where Provodnikov lost his WBO junior welterweight title to Chris Algieri by split decision.
Assuming he is cleared to fight, Tapia plans to take about a month off before returning to Roach’s Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood to train for an October bout.
“I’m going to do the same thing I would’ve done if I fought [Saturday night],” Tapia said. “I’m going to relax, spend time with my family, spend time with my daughter and just get away from boxing a little bit. Sometimes you need it more mentally than physically. Then I’ll come back stronger than ever.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.