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Saturday, April 5, 2014
Roman Martinez (illness) out of fight

By Dan Rafael
ESPN.com

Two-time junior lightweight word titleholder Roman "Rocky" Martinez of Puerto Rico is ill and has withdrawn from his fight on the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley Jr. undercard next week, Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti told ESPN.com on Saturday night.

Martinez (27-2-2, 16 KOs), 30, was due to face Raymundo Beltran (28-6-1, 17 KOs), 32, of Mexico, in the 12-round lightweight co-feature of next Saturday's HBO PPV card at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Arash Usmanee will replace Martinez and face Beltran instead, Moretti said.

"Rocky went to see the doctor twice. That's what Peter Rivera (Martinez's co-promoter) told us," Moretti said. "He said Rocky had no energy, low blood sugar and had not been feeling well for four or five days. Maybe he has the flu or something, but whatever it is, he doesn't feel good and pulled out of the fight. He had missed going to the gym for three or four days in a row and on Friday he pulled out. He is just not going to be ready to fight."

The 32-year-old Usmanee (20-1-1, 10 KOs), a native of Afghanistan fighting out of Montreal, appears to be a strong replacement opponent. In his last fight on Aug. 23, in Verona, N.Y., Usmanee fought to a majority draw challenging junior lightweight titleholder Argenis Mendez.

"I'm finishing the deal with (Usmanee promoter) Greg Cohen. I don't have the paperwork yet, but that's what we're trying to get done," Moretti said. "I worked things out with Greg on Friday. He said Usmanee had been in the gym training and was going to have some sort of fight soon, so this worked out for them. He'll be in shape for the fight because he was already training. Greg says (Usmanee) is a gym rat."

Beltran, who lives in Los Angeles, has served as a top sparring partner for Pacquiao and got a shot at a lightweight world title in September. He went to Ricky Burns' home base in Glasgow, Scotland, and fought the fight of his life. He broke Burns' jaw in the second round, dropped him in the eighth round and seemed to clearly win but was the victim of a heavily disputed draw.

The fight with Usmanee will be Beltran's first since the disputed draw with Burns, who later lost his title to Terence Crawford. If Beltran beats Usmanee it could propel him into a title shot against Crawford.