Denver junior welterweight prospect Mike Alvarado, primed for a big step up in competition against former titleholder Paulie Malignaggi, suffered an elbow injury and withdrew from the fight on Friday night.
Alvarado (26-0, 18 KOs) was scheduled to meet Malignaggi on June 27 in Atlantic City, N.J., on the televised undercard of a Top Rank pay-per-view show headlined by junior featherweight titlist Juan Manuel Lopez against Olivier Lontchi.
Alvarado hurt his right elbow earlier in the week and when he tried to test it Friday, it "kept locking up and he couldn't go," Top Rank matchmaker Brad Goodman told ESPN.com.
Goodman said Alvarado planned to see a doctor Monday for a complete exam of his elbow.
"Mike knew the magnitude of the fight and he knows the kind of fighter Paulie is," Goodman said. "Mike knew this was a make-or-break kind of fight and he felt like he had to be 100 percent to fight a guy like Paulie. It was an important fight for both guys. Alvarado is trying to prove himself and Paulie is desperate to get back on top."
Goodman said Top Rank would try to leave Malignaggi (26-2, 5 KOs) on the card and match him with another opponent. He said that the fight with Alvarado would be rescheduled.
Alvarado and Malignaggi, of New York, both won eight-round decisions in recent weeks in tune-up fights to prepare for each other.
Alvarado outpointed Juaquin Gallardo on May 2 on the Manny Pacquiao-Ricky Hatton undercard in Las Vegas. Malignaggi, who was stopped in the 11th round by Hatton in November, made a successful comeback by outboxing Chris Fernandez on April 25 on the Carl Froch-Jermain Taylor undercard at the Foxwoods resort in Connecticut.
"I'm hoping that Top Rank will leave Paulie on the show and we'll find another guy for him to fight," said Lou DiBella, Malignaggi's promoter. "Paulie is very disappointed. He just wants to get back in the ring. After the fight [with Fernandez], Paulie stayed in the gym and everything was directed toward this fight. Hopefully, Paulie can stay on the card and we can reschedule the fight with Alvarado for later."
Dan Rafael is a senior boxing writer for ESPN.com.