When unified lightweight titleholder Nate Campbell's Sept. 13 defense against Joan Guzman was canceled hours before because an overweight Guzman refused to go through with it -- even as a nontitle fight -- neither fighter got paid. No bout, no paychecks.
Without the income he so badly needed, Campbell on Thursday declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Tampa, Fla., adviser and close friend Terry Trekas told ESPN.com.
Married in May, with six children to support, a house he was due to close on and a $110,000 tax issue with the IRS, the money from the fight would have gone a long way toward helping Campbell take care of his responsibilities.
Not only was Campbell out his $300,000 purse, the bout needed to take place in order for him to collect the remaining half of a $200,000 signing bonus in his contract with promoter Don King.
Part of the bankruptcy means that Campbell's contract with King was voided, Trekas said.
Trekas said they attempted to work out something with King to help Campbell get by, but they could not come to terms.
"Nate filed for bankruptcy and notified [Don King Productions] of his actions," Trekas said. "When that fight didn't happen, it hurt. Nate's had a tax issue he's been dealing with and this bankruptcy has been planned for over a year, but was put on hold hoping things could be worked out. But based on what happened with the Guzman fight and not getting the income, and other issues, his attorney and accountant advised him that he had to do it now.
"In the bankruptcy, Nate rejected the King contract. We'll just have to see what they want to do. Technically, Don can challenge it. It's not a winning strategy, but maybe there is something that can be worked out. That will be up to Don."
Trekas said the attorney advised Campbell, 36, that he is free to "do whatever, sign with someone else, talk to whatever promoter he wants. The King contract is dead."
King was in the Dominican Republic attending the WBA's annual convention and was unavailable for comment. King spokesman Alan Hopper had no comment.
Campbell (32-5-1, 25 KOs), with his personality, crowd-pleasing style and three of the lightweight belts, figures to be a hot commodity on the free-agent market. He won his belts via decision by upsetting Juan Diaz on March 8 in Cancun, Mexico.
Campbell's first defense was to have been against Guzman, a former junior lightweight titleholder who relinquished his 130-pound belt to move up to 135 for the shot at Campbell. However, Guzman weighed in at 138½ the day before the Showtime main event in Biloxi, Miss., rendering the bout a nontitle fight. However, the next day, just hours before the fighters were supposed to be in the ring, Guzman elected not to fight.
Trekas said the bankruptcy was legitimate, not merely as a means to get out from his promotional contract.
"Nate was like, 'This kind of sucks, but I can move on,' " Trekas said. "We're going to talk to everybody out there and see what his options are and what is available to him."
Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com.