Showtime deal saves two fights, including Marquez-Juarez

Updated: September 12, 2007, 3:20 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

That didn't take long.

Five days after Juan Manuel Marquez's first junior lightweight title defense against Rocky Juarez was canceled -- along with the rest of Golden Boy Promotions' "Fireworks" HBO PPV card -- Showtime has come to the rescue.

Two of the four fights that had been scheduled for Saturday night on pay-per-view at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas will be salvaged after Showtime and Golden Boy closed a deal Wednesday. The catch? There's a six-week delay.

Marquez vs. Juarez, along with featherweight titlist Robert Guerrero (20-1-1, 13 KOs) defending against Martin Honorio (24-3-1, 12 KOs), is now set for Nov. 3 on Showtime. And, fans will save the $44.95 pay-per-view price tag.

It is the first time that Golden Boy, which has very strong ties to HBO, will be the lead promoter for a card on Showtime.

"We are very excited about it," Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer told ESPN.com. "I had great discussions with (Showtime boxing chief) Ken Hershman. We're looking forward to building up our relationship with Showtime."

A site for the card has not been finalized, but one possibility is Chihuahua, Mexico, according to Shelly Finkel, who manages Juarez and Guerrero.

The card was called off last Friday after Marquez (47-3-1, 35 KOs) suffered an infection in a cut on his knuckle, which led to severe swelling and left him unable to be ready to fight a week later.

But Marquez's hand will have had plenty of time to heal so he can be ready for the new date. It was the only remaining date available on either HBO or Showtime for the rest of the year, so it was much sought after by promoters.

Hershman was not available for comment, but Guerrero promoter Dan Goossen lauded Showtime for coming through and saving the fights.

"I'm ecstatic that Showtime kept this date in its back pocket," Goossen said. "It paid off big time for everyone and the exposure will be much greater on Showtime rather than pay-per-view. Good job Mr. Hershman. It's funny because I've been speaking to Ken about Guerrero having the Nov. 3 date based on fighting and winning [the fight that] was supposed to be Saturday. So now they get two real good fights."

Finkel said that Juarez (27-3, 19 KOs), who was disappointed when the fight was originally called off, was delighted that it had been rescheduled.

"He was very happy," Finkel said. "And look, six more week of training can only make him better."

A third fight from the canceled PPV show between ex-junior lightweight titlist Steve Forbes (32-5, 9 KOs), the runner-up on the second season of "The Contender" reality series, and one-time top prospect Francisco "Panchito" Bojado (18-2, 12 KOs) was previously rescheduled for the Oct. 6 HBO PPV card headlined by the Manny Pacquiao-Marco Antonio Barrera rematch.

The only fight from the aborted PPV card without a home is the bout between "Contender" season one winner Sergio Mora (19-0, 4 KOs) and former junior middleweight titlist Kassim Ouma (25-3-1, 15 KOs).

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.

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