NIAGARA FALLS — Vincent Arroyo made a sacrifice for the good of the show, but it turns out his noble gesture wasn’t enough to get Nick Casal back in the boxing ring to officially start his comeback.
Now, the two biggest names in Western New York boxing won’t be a part of Thursday night’s Fight in the Falls card at the Niagara Falls Conference and Events Center because both of their scheduled opponents failed pre-fight physicals prior to Wednesday’s late afternoon public weigh-in ceremony.
Casal’s opponent, welterweight Shakha Moore, was denied a license because he had Lasik eye surgery more than a year ago. While most states wouldn’t deny a license because of that, New York is an exception.
That news reached promoter Mercedes Vazquez-Simmons’ ear Tuesday.
Arroyo, the 26-year-old super welterweight from Amherst, was willing to let his opponent – Marlon Lewis (6-3-1, 3 KOs) of Memphis, Tenn – move into the main event slot to face Casal, a move that wouldn’t have been too difficult since Lewis was having trouble bulking up for his originally scheduled fight. However, Casal learned two hours before the weigh-in that Lewis also was denied a license because of an issue with his MRI.
That means Buffalo cruiserweight Greg Brady (4-1, 4 KOs) moves into the main event slot, where he will face unbeaten Joel Shojgreen (8-0, 7 KOs).
“It’s a heartbreaker because I was looking forward to the fight in my hometown,” said Casal, the 28-year-old who was trying to make his return to the ring following a vicious May 2012 attack that left him with serious head and body gashes that required more than 100 stitches to repair. “I just found out before the weigh-in, but there’s nothing I can do about it.”
On Arroyo being willing to step aside to save the main event in the headliner’s hometown: “I would have done the same for him if this was in Buffalo. We’re both businessmen.”
Arroyo (12-1, 7 KOs) has been idle since his September 2011 triumph over Hector Sanchez on Showtime because he got in a court battle with his management team.
“It may not have been meant to be for me right now but I look at it as bigger doors will open for me in the future,” Arroyo said.
Simmons said those who bought tickets will be offered tickets to the next event she plans to hold in the Falls, May 4 with both Casal and Arroyo as headliners on the card.
“We’d like to make things right and have another show here,” Vazquez-Simmons said.
Tickets are still available for tonight’s card and prices start as low as $30. They can be purchased at the Niagara Falls Conference and Event Center.
Fights in the Falls
When: 7 p.m. tonight
Where: Niagara Falls Conference and Events Center
Doors open: 6 p.m.
Fast fact: Six-card bout taking place in venue that’s a short walk from Seneca Niagara Casino.
Ticket prices: $30, $40, $50 and $100. VIP tables available.
Purchase at ticketfly.com or at the Conference and Events Center.