By Elliot Foster
PAUL BUTLER missed weight ahead of his world title fight this weekend.
The Ellesmere Port bantamweight was set to fight Emmanuel Rodriguez on Saturday for the vacant IBF world title.
But the belt will now be at stake for Rodriguez only after the 29-year-old came in at 8st 9.3lbs [121.3-pounds].
Butler was given two hours, per IBF rules, to shift the weight, but he didn’t come back to the scales.
Rodriguez, who can become Puerto Rico’s next world champion with victory over Butler at the O2 Arena in London, exclusively live on Sky Sports Box Office, weighed in at 8st 5.7lbs [117.5-pounds].
Eddie Hearn, Butler’s promoter, was somewhat bemused afterwards, but maintained that the fight would still go ahead.
“I’ve no idea what happened there,” he told Boxing Scene, before confirming he had seen Butler’s coach Joe Gallagher and his father on the morning of the weigh-in. “Whenever that happens and you come in that much over the weight, usually something has happened in camp. It’s not like you’ve just misjudged it, you’ve either been ill, injured or even just unable to train for a few days.
“It’s a bit like the Scott Quigg fight [against Oscar Valdez, for the latter’s WBO featherweight strap], the only reason Butler has taken this fight is because it was for a world title.
“It’s a very dangerous fight and he’s not an unprofessional fighter, so something’s gone wrong in camp and he’s got to a stage where he’s playing catch-up and can’t make it any more.
“Rodriguez could ask Butler to be a certain weight on Saturday but he’s also well within his rights to say that he doesn’t want the fight and to walk away.
“That said, I don’t think he’d do that because he wants to become a world champion.”