Heavyweight contender Chris Arreola, due to fight on a Dec. 11 ESPN2 boxing special at the Pechanga Resort & Casino in Temecula, California, dropped off the card Tuesday because of a left elbow problem.
Arreola (35-4, 31 KOs), 33, of Riverside, California, was supposed to return for his first fight since Bermane Stiverne stopped him in the sixth round of their rematch to win a vacant world title May 10. Arreola did not yet have an opponent.
His elbow has been giving him problems since about two weeks before the Stiverne fight, from which Arreola considered pulling out because of the injury. He had surgery on the elbow July 7.
"He had surgery on his elbow after the fight with Stiverne, and it is just not responding in the gym the way it should, so it's best to give him a little more time before he's in an actual fight," Tom Brown of Goossen Promotions, Arreola's longtime promoter, told ESPN.com.
Said Henry Ramirez, Arreola's trainer, "When we initially went to see the doctor after the Stiverne fight, he recommended that Chris have Tommy John surgery, but since he's not a pitcher and we didn't have a year to take off, they did a scope instead. Coming back, the elbow just wasn't ready yet to fight on Dec. 11. But Chris is in the gym and he is training. He's using his left, but he's going easy on it and not doing any hard sparring. He hasn't been able to really turn loose with it and let it go yet."
The card, a tribute to the late promoter Dan Goossen, who died Sept. 29 at age 64 from liver cancer, is headlined by former junior middleweight titlist Austin Trout (27-2, 14 KOs) taking on Luis Grajeda (17-3-2, 13 KOs) in a 10-round bout.
The telecast also will include a 10-round heavyweight fight between Johnathon Banks (29-2-1, 19 KOs), who trains heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, and Antonio Tarver (30-6, 21 KOs), a former light heavyweight world champion. They were scheduled to fight Sept. 29 in Hidalgo, Texas, but the bout was postponed after Tarver fractured his thumb training.
In another TV bout, junior featherweights Oscar Escandon (23-1, 16 KOs) and Tyson Cave (24-2, 8 KOs) will meet in a world title eliminator.
A fourth fight also could be added to the broadcast: light heavyweight Marcus Browne (12-0, 9 KOs), a 2012 U.S. Olympian, against Henry Buchanan (21-4, 14 KOs) in an eight-rounder.