Vargas farewell bout postponed due to anemia

Updated: August 25, 2007, 11:57 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

For those excited about Fernando Vargas' Sept. 8 farewell fight against Ricardo Mayorga, highlights of their July 11 news conference brawl will have to suffice for now.

The fight, scheduled to take place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Showtime PPV, was postponed Saturday because Vargas was diagnosed with anemia, manager Shelly Finkel told ESPN.com.

"Fernando is disappointed. He put a lot of time into training for this fight," Finkel said. "Hopefully, it can be rescheduled. The doctor said if everything is OK, he can probably start training again in two or three weeks."

Vargas and Mayorga, a former welterweight champion and junior middleweight titleholder, were to meet at 162 pounds in a fight that figured to be a brawl. Although Vargas is only 29, he's been in many grueling fights and was knocked out in his last two fights by Shane Mosley last year. Vargas, however, wanted one more fight -- for pride, he said -- and picked the trash-talking Mayorga for what he announced would be his farewell bout.

While training for the fight during the past several weeks, Vargas was feeling sluggish and weak. After a visit to his doctor and a blood test on Friday, he was diagnosed Saturday with anemia, a blood condition that results from a lower number of healthy red blood cells and can lead to fatigue.

Main Events and Don King, co-promoters of the card, were talking Saturday with the Staples Center about potential dates to reschedule the fight.

Although neither fighter is in his prime, the matchup had many fans excited because of their brawling styles. Finkel said ticket sales were strong, with more than $1 million worth already sold.

Event publicist Ed Keenan, speaking from Ocean City, N.J., said a sellout had been expected.

"Vargas's doctor ordered him to not participate in the match and to take the necessary weeks of treatment to correct the problem," Keenan said Saturday night.

The fight also generated a lot of attention when it was announced last month; Vargas and Mayorga (27-6-1, 22 KOs) came to blows at the kick-off news conference after Mayorga taunted Vargas (26-4, 22 KOs).

Vargas wound up with a cut on his hand, Mayorga had a small cut over his left eye and a bloody lip, and the promoters had a highlight reel to play over and over to hype the fight.

With the main event postponed, so to is the rest of the card, including welterweight titlist Kermit Cintron's second defense against Jesse Feliciano. That fight might not be rescheduled as Cintron could go directly to a Showtime main event on Dec. 1 against a higher-caliber opponent, possibly a rematch with Antonio Margarito (who handed Cintron his only pro loss) or top contender Joshua Clottey.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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