'Contractual issues' force cancellation of bout
Barely a week after the announcement that former pound-for-pound king Roy Jones Jr. would face former super middleweight titlist Manny Siaca on Dec. 9 at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, the fight was canceled Monday.
"It is unfortunate for the boxing fans of Philadelphia that this significant event has been called off due to contractual issues for the fight," John Page, the COO of Global Spectrum, said in a statement.
Global Spectrum, which runs the arena and was going to promote the event, is a subsidiary of Comcast-Spectacor, which also owns the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers and the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers.
Although Page didn't detail the "contractual issues," a source involved in the event told ESPN.com that when the fight was announced, Jones had not yet signed a contract, although he had agreed to a $500,000 base purse plus a share of the profits from the event.
However, when pressed to sign the deal, Jones demanded more money, the source said. Global Spectrum didn't give in and the fight was called off.
Jones-Siaca was ticketed as a small pay-per-view card, one that would have competed head-to-head with an HBO card headlined by middleweight champion Jermain Taylor vs. Kassim Ouma.
Jones (50-4, 38 KOs), over the objection of adviser Jim Thomas, had elected to face Puerto Rico's Siaca (20-6, 18 KOs) instead of a taking a more lucrative deal to fight Peter Manfredo Jr. of "The Contender" on Jan. 19 on Showtime PPV.
That decision surprised "Contender" promoter Jeff Wald, who had nearly completed a deal with Thomas.
"Jim has no control of his client," Wald said a few days before the Siaca fight was canceled. "This is what Roy has done his whole career. He missed out on a huge payday for a fight that won't do 10,000 buys. Roy wants to be his own man. That's fine. He would have made multiple millions to fight Peter. We were about 90 percent there on the deal. We made him a very good offer where he would have had a big share of the upside. But Roy does what he wants to do. He beats to his own drummer."
Jones, a former champion in four divisions, ended a three-fight losing streak -- which included two vicious knockout losses to Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson -- on July 29 when he easily outpointed Badi Ajamu in Boise, Idaho.
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.
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