NEWARK, New Jersey – James Martin damaged and helped salvage FOX’s tripleheader all within a matter of hours Friday afternoon.
An overweight Martin was removed from his scheduled immediate rematch with Vito Mielnicki Jr. before their weigh-in at the Doubletree Hilton hotel. BoxingScene.com has confirmed that later Friday afternoon Martin agreed to face unbeaten junior middleweight prospect Joey Spencer in the opener of FOX’s broadcast.
Martin’s emergence with his third opponent in less than eight hours capped a wild day even by boxing’s abnormal standards.
The second bout between Philadelphia’s Martin (7-2, 0 KOs), who upset Mielnicki by majority decision April 17 in Los Angeles, and Mielnicki (8-1, 5 KOs) was supposed to be the eight-round co-feature of a “FOX PBC Fight Night” tripleheader from Prudential Center.
Once it became clear Friday morning that Martin wouldn’t come close to their contracted weight of 147 pounds, Mielnicki and Martin agreed to switch opponents.
Mielnicki, a 19-year-old prospect from Roseland, New Jersey, will still fight Noah Kidd (6-3-2, 5 KOs), of Jefferson City, Missouri, in the eight-round co-feature of FOX’s three-bout broadcast. Martin left the weigh-in thinking that he would box Keeshawn Williams (7-0-1, 2 KOs), Kidd’s original opponent, in a six-round junior middleweight match.
Later Friday afternoon, Martin happily jumped at the opportunity to fight Spencer (12-0, 9 KOs), who was overweight for his scheduled fight against Dan Karpency. ESPN.com’s Mike Coppinger first reported that Martin replaced Karpency as Spencer’s opponent.
Spencer, of Linden, Michigan, weighed in at 156½ pounds, 2½ above his contracted maximum of 154 pounds. Karpency (9-3-1, 4 KOs), of Adah, Pennsylvania, later refused to fight Spencer because his opponent was overweight when he stepped on the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board’s scale.
Karpency met his contractual obligation by officially weighing in at 153½ pounds.
Martin, meanwhile, will face a five-pound weight disadvantage versus Spencer, as opposed to owning a 3½-pound weight edge against Williams.
The 24-year-old Martin weighed in for what he thought would be a fight against Williams at 151½ pounds. Williams, of Lanham, Maryland, weighed 148 pounds.
Michael Coffie (12-0, 9 KOs), a heavyweight prospect from Orlando, Florida, and Los Angeles’ Jonnie Rice (13-6-1, 9 KOs) will headline FOX’s broadcast in the 10-round main event. Coffie was supposed to fight Gerald Washington (20-4, 13 KOs), but Washington withdrew from their bout earlier this week due to COVID-19.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.