- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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The new year has not gotten off to a good start for Thomas Oosthuizen, the unbeaten South African contender, who suffered an undisclosed injury in a bicycle crash in recent days and then was released by promoter Rodney Berman ahead of his upcoming fight.
Oosthuizen, a longtime super middleweight contender, was due to move up to light heavyweight to face Montreal-based Colombian prospect Eleider Alvarez (13-0, 8 KOs) in an HBO-televised bout from the Bell Centre in Montreal on Jan. 18.
The fight was due to serve as the co-feature on a tripleheader headlined by the long-awaited showdown between former light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal and former super middleweight titlist Lucian Bute, both of whom are based in Montreal.
However, Berman, a Golden Gloves promoter out of South Africa who co-promotes Oosthuizen with Lou DiBella, announced Monday that he has "washed his hands" of Oosthuizen after the bike accident combined with Berman's assertion that Oosthuizen was more than 13 pounds over the 175-pound limit for the fight "and hadn't a hope of being fit to face unbeaten Eleider Alvarez on an HBO bill in less than a fortnight."
The 25-year-old Oosthuizen (22-0-2, 13 KOs), a southpaw, struggled to make the 168-pound super middleweight limit in recent fights and is coming off back-to-back lackluster performances.
In June, he struggled in a 10-round draw with Brandon Gonzalez and then eked out a majority decision against Ezequiel Osvaldo Maderna on Nov. 9 in South Africa. Berman said the fight with Maderna was nearly called off because of Oosthuizen's problems making weight, which promoted what was supposed to be fresh start at light heavyweight.
"He's done," Berman said. "He's had so many chances and blown every one. Golden Gloves is the promoter of champions, of men of credibility, good standing and dignity. Tommy has let us all down. Fighters are meant to be role models, but he's fallen very short."
It has not been determined whether a new opponent will be signed to face Alvarez and, even if one is, whether the bout will remain on the HBO telecast, which still will feature Pascal (28-2-1, 17 KOs) taking on Bute (31-1, 24 KOs) in the 12-round main event and heavyweight Mike Perez (20-0, 12 KOs) facing Carlos Takam (28-1, 22 KOs) in a scheduled 10-round bout.
The fight is Perez's first since a Nov. 2 decision win left opponent Magomed Abdusalamov in a coma for more than a month.