One of the bouts that was supposed to take place Dec. 14 on the Showtime PPV undercard of the Adrien Broner-Marcos Maidana welterweight title fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas was junior middleweight titleholder Carlos Molina making his first defense against former welterweight titlist Victor Ortiz.
The Molina and Ortiz camps had agreed to a deal, and Golden Boy promoter Richard Schaefer expressed excitement about having the fight serve as the card's co-feature.
But the fight is off -- and it's not hard to understand why. Although the fighters and their teams wanted the fight, the IBF, whose 154-pound title Molina holds, declined to sanction the bout. It's hard to argue with the decision.
Ortiz simply doesn't warrant or qualify for the a junior middleweight world title shot under the IBF's rules, and it is the one boxing organization -- love it or hate it -- that steadfastly follows its rules. Other organizations almost surely would have sanctioned the fight without so much as a pause. But not the IBF.
"We did get a request to sanction that fight," IBF president Daryl Peoples told ESPN.com on Tuesday. "Ortiz is not in the ratings, so we cannot approve the fight. Ortiz was stopped in his last two fights and has been inactive for 16 months."
Golden Boy had made an effort to get Ortiz, who would have been idle for 18 months by the time the fight took place, rated in the IBF's junior middleweight rankings, but it was rebuffed.
The 26-year-old Ortiz (29-4-2, 22 KOs), who has never fought at junior middleweight, is coming off back-to-back knockout losses at welterweight. Floyd Mayweather Jr. drilled him in the fourth round in a September 2011 world title bout. In June 2012, Josestio Lopez badly broke Ortiz's jaw, forcing him to retire on his stool after the ninth round.
Ortiz hasn't fought since, while recovering from the jaw injury and also pursuing other interests, such as a stint on "Dancing With The Stars" and playing a role in "The Expendables 3" movie.
Golden Boy is now trying to put together a different fight for the undercard, although Molina could still be on the show against somebody else.
"We're disappointed. We wanted to fight the guy [Ortiz]," said Warriors Boxing promoter Leon Margules, who represents Molina. "We hope we can still fight on that show and fight somebody ranked. We'll fight whoever they put in front of us."
Molina (22-5-2, 6 KOs), 30, won the belt by outpointing Ishe Smith on the Mayweather-Canelo Alvarez undercard on Sept. 14.