Guzman gives up junior lightweight belt

Updated: May 14, 2008, 2:30 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

Joan Guzman, tired of waiting for his delayed junior lightweight title defense against Alex Arthur to be rescheduled, vacated his 130-pound title and will move up to lightweight, a representative of promoter Sycuan Ringside Promotions told ESPN.com on Wednesday.

"He vacated. We sent a letter to the WBO on Tuesday to tell them what we were doing. We are done with this nonsense," Sycuan's Sean Gibbons said.

The "nonsense" Gibbons referred to is Sycuan's contention that Arthur and promoter Frank Warren never intended to go through with the mandatory fight against Guzman.

Guzman (28-0, 17 KOs), of the Dominican Republic, was scheduled to travel to Scotland to defend against interim titlist Arthur in a mandatory fight on April 26. However, the paperwork needed for Guzman to get his visa was delayed and the fight was postponed.

At first, the fight was supposed to be rescheduled for sometime in June. Warren, who won the right to promote the match at a purse bid, has been dragging his feet on rescheduling, Gibbons said.

Warren could not be reached for comment.

Gibbons met with WBO president Paco Valcarcel in Los Angeles two weeks ago in an attempt to clarify a deadline for a rescheduled fight, but had no luck.

"We don't think they ever had any intention of doing the fight," Gibbons said. "If we didn't have that little problem [with the visa] it would have been something else. Supposedly, Frank is still talking to [British broadcaster Setanta] and saying maybe he will get a date in July. We'll be lucky if he comes up with a new date and Joan is not going to sit for a few months. The fight with Arthur had no American TV anyway and doesn't do anything for Guzman. All the players are at 135 pounds, so Guzman relinquished the belt.

"If the fight with Arthur had happened, it was like free money, but it's not worth it to wait around and get the runaround. Guzman is not getting any younger," he said.

Guzman, 32, a former junior featherweight titlist, plans to move to lightweight immediately.

With Guzman moving up in weight, the WBO is expected to drop the interim tag and install Arthur as its full titleholder.

Gibbons said the WBO has assured Sycuan that Guzman would be installed as the No. 1 contender at 135 pounds, where Nate Campbell has three of the belts.

Gibbons said that's a fight Guzman would like.

"Nate doesn't seem to be able to get any action. We will be happy to give him action," Gibbons said. "Nobody wants to fight Nate and nobody wants to fight Guzman. They can fight each other."

Guzman's addition to the 135-pound division adds another top-flight fighter to a deep class.

"Guzman can make 130 but what's at 130? All the top guys are at 135," Gibbons said. "You have Campbell, Juan Manuel Marquez, who is going to 135, Manny Pacquiao, [Juan] Diaz, [Michael] Katsidis, Joel Casamayor -- 135 is the new 130."

Guzman won his junior lightweight title by outpointing Jorge Barrios in September 2006 and made two defenses, decisions against Antonio Davis in December 2006 and Humberto Soto in November 2007.

Guzman, who recently signed a contract extension with Sycuan, would have received $168,000 to fight Arthur, which was his share of Warren's $280,000 winning purse bid.

Dan Rafael is ESPN.com's boxing writer.