New York junior middleweight Joe Greene, scheduled to challenge interim titleholder Sergio Martinez on Jan. 17, withdrew Wednesday because of a bout with kidney stones.
Greene (20-0, 14 KOs), 22, who had been training in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains, began urinating blood over the weekend and visited the doctor, who advised him not to fight, even though Greene was feeling up to it.
"He wanted to stay in the fight despite this, but he has kidney stones and if they flare up, we have a problem," Martinez co-promoter Lou DiBella told ESPN.com. "The doctor said that he recommended that Joe not engage in any strenuous activity, so he's out of the fight. The kid was [urinating blood]. What can you do? The reason he didn't want to pull out was because he didn't feel so terrible, but he's [urinating] blood and shouldn't be fighting. There's no ifs, ands, or buts. If the fight was a couple of weeks later, maybe it would be OK."
"We're extremely disappointed that Joe didn't have a chance to win his first world title," said Leon Margules of Seminole Warriors Boxing, Greene's promoter.
With Greene out of the fight, DiBella and HBO are looking at other options.
Their first choice was titleholder Daniel Santos, whose promoter, Don King, agreed to a deal for a fight that would have been a nontitle bout over the 154-pound division limit. However, Santos turned the fight down, feeling he wouldn't have enough time to be ready on 10 days' notice, DiBella said.
The two other names in play are Philadelphia's Anthony Thompson (23-3, 17 KOs) and former titleholder Travis Simms (26-1, 19 KOs).
Thompson, 27, a decorated amateur, has lost two fights in a row but both were highly controversial. He dropped a split decision to Yuri Foreman in June 2007 in a fight many ringsider observers felt Thompson won. In August, Thompson was battering Ishmail Arvin but suffered a bad cut over his eye. The fight was stopped and Arvin was awarded a sixth-round TKO victory -- even though video replays clearly showed the cut was caused by an accidental head butt.
Simms, 37, or Norwalk, Conn., lost his title in front of his hometown fans to Joachim Alcine via unanimous decision in July 2007. Simms returned to notch a six-round decision win in August against Mike McFail, whose loss dropped him to 1-27-1 in his previous 29 bouts.
Martinez (44-1-1, 24 KOs), who is from Argentina but lives in Spain, made a splash on Oct. 4 in his HBO debut when he blistered Alex Bunema, stopping him in the eighth round to claim the vacant interim belt and become the mandatory challenger for titleholder Vernon Forrest.
In the main event of the Jan. 17 "Boxing After Dark," welterweight titleholder Andre Berto (23-0, 19 KOs) makes his second defense against mandatory challenger (and former titleholder) Luis Collazo (29-3, 14 KOs) at the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi, Miss.
Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com.