When super middleweight champ Andre Ward was forced to postpone his Jan. 26 title defense against Kelly Pavlik because of a right shoulder injury -- and then it turned out that he needed surgery on the shoulder, forcing cancellation of the fight right before it was officially rescheduled for March 2 -- it left in limbo a significant heavyweight fight.
Cristobal Arreola (35-2, 30 KOs) and Bermane Stiverne (22-1-1, 20 KOs) were due to meet in the HBO "World Championship Boxing" co-feature on the Ward-Pavlik undercard in a title eliminator to determine the mandatory challenger for titleholder Vitali Klitschko. Should Klitschko retire, as is a serious possibility, the winner would then fight for the vacant belt.
But with Ward-Pavlik off the HBO calendar, the network and Dan Goossen -- Arreola's promoter, who has control of Arreola-Stiverne through a purse bid -- are planning to have the fight headline a March 2 card on "Boxing After Dark."
No venue has been locked in, but the fight probably will take place in Southern California, where Arreola is from.
It remains to be seen what co-feature Goossen and HBO will line up. Junior lightweight titlist Juan Carlos Salgado (26-1-1, 16 KOs) is due to face mandatory challenger Argenis Mendez (20-2, 10 KOs) in a rematch on the undercard, but it won't necessarily be the opening bout on HBO's telecast.
In September 2011, Salgado outpointed Mendez in a highly competitive fight for the vacant belt and has since made three defenses. Mendez has won both of his bouts since the loss, including a title eliminator in July to become the mandatory challenger.