Felix Verdejo (hand) pulls out of fight

SAN JUAN -- Felix Verdejo has been forced to pull out of his Dec. 14 fight date because of a left hand injury, the Puerto Rican lightweight prospect announced via social media.

Verdejo (9-0, 6 KOs) had been lined up to fight Mexico's Lauro Alcantar (8-0, 1 KO) in a six-round bout on a Top Rank/Miguel Cotto Promotions card in Caguas, Puerto Rico, but the fighter indicated that swelling of the knuckles on his left hand will prevent him from being ready in time.

"Me and my manager [Ricky Marquez] made this difficult decision to make sure I will be 100% so I can go on with my career," Verdejo announced as part of a statement posted to multiple social networks. "I'm sorry I couldn't fight in my home as was my desire, but I hope to do it in 2014, God willing."

According to Verdejo, the hand injury occurred as a result of the numerous punches he landed to the head of Petchsamuthr Duanaaymukdahan in a dominant win on Nov. 23 in Macau.

"I hurt the knuckles on my left hand," Verdejo told ESPNDeportes.com. "We had an MRI, and it showed swelling. It hurts. It's something I know will take time to heal. It happened before, during the London Olympics, but on the other hand."

Verdejo, who said the injury won't affect his physical conditioning, hopes to return in January.