If junior welterweight contender Humberto Soto didn't have bad luck, he would have no luck at all.
After having two fights canceled on him in the past month through no fault of his own -- against Frankie Gomez and Raymundo Beltran -- Soto accepted a replacement opponent, Jose Felix Jr., on Tuesday, only to suffer a knee injury just as the deal was being closed.
Now that fight is also off, Eric Gomez, vice president of Golden Boy Promotions, Soto's promoter, told ESPN.com.
"Soto is not going to fight," said Gomez (no relation to Frankie). "He messed up his knee jogging on Tuesday. He was training. He got X-rays and he has strained knee ligaments, and the doctor told him he needs to rest it for a month."
Soto was initially scheduled to face up-and-comer Gomez on May 9 at Minute Maid Park in Houston in the HBO-televised co-feature of the Canelo Alvarez-James Kirkland junior middleweight bout. But when Gomez was 6½ pounds overweight at the weigh-in the day before the bout, it was canceled.
HBO, wanting to honor its obligation to Soto, found room for him on its June 27 card headlined by Timothy Bradley Jr. against Jessie Vargas for a vacant welterweight title at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. Soto was due to face Beltran, the two-time lightweight title challenger, who was going to move up from 135 pounds to 140 to face him.
However, that fight was also canceled because Beltran tested positive for an anabolic steroid following his second-round knockout victory against Takahiro Ao on May 1 in Las Vegas. The test results were returned to the Nevada State Athletic Commission late last week. Beltran faces a lengthy suspension and fine from the commission, and is not allowed to fight.
With Beltran out, Carl Moretti, vice president of Top Rank, which is promoting the June 27 card, HBO Sports vice president Peter Nelson and Eric Gomez went to work on finding another opponent for Soto (65-8-2, 35 KOs), 34, a former lightweight and junior lightweight world titleholder. They came up with Felix, Soto's 23-year-old Mexican countryman, for a 10-round bout. Felix (29-1-1, 24 KOs), a lightweight who has won three fights in a row since his lone defeat (a decision in an interim junior lightweight title bout 13 months ago), was training for a June 13 UniMas-televised bout. But Felix had no opponent yet for that fight and was willing to move up to 140 pounds to face Soto.
Now, Soto is the one who had to drop out.
"It's shocking. This guy can't catch a break," Eric Gomez said of Soto. "First, there was the Frankie Gomez situation, then Ray Beltran and now this. When bad news happens, it comes in threes. It was like 1-2-3 strikes, you're out."