by Charles Jay
Main Events is experiencing a rocky road en route to its first boxing presentation on the NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus), which is scheduled next Saturday (January 21).
The main event was supposed to feature former WBO heavyweight champion Sergei Liakhovich going up against Eddie Chambers, a former title challenger. But Chambers is claiming an injury and has pulled out of the fight, which is to be held at the Asylum Arena in Philadelphia.
It is not going to be very easy to find a substitute. Chambers, in fact, was the guy who had most of the recent credentials. He has, in the last couple of years, beaten Samuel Peter and Alexander Dimitrenko, and was knocked out in twelve rounds by Wladimir Klitschko last March in an IBF/WBO title fight where he just couldn’t overcome a disadvantage of five inches in height and 35 pounds in weight.
Liakhovich won the WBO crown back in April 2006 with a decision over Lamon Brewster, but that is the last significant fight he has won. Since then he has lost the title to Shannon Briggs, lost a subsequent eliminator to Nikolay Valuev, beat a couple of lesser lights, and got stopped in nine rounds by Robert Helenius (august 27). Liakhovich’s last win was against Evans Quinn 20 months ago.
On top of all this, the fight is being held in Chambers’ hometown, so the promoters are going to have to find someone with some stature who will come in and take the fight on short notice for about $25,000.
Chambers had not fought since last February, when he beat Derric Rossy. He has been known to experience back and shoulder problems, and it was the bad back that forced him out of a scheduled October 28 bout last year against Tony Thompson, which was to be an IBF eliminator.
Versus became NBC Sports Network officially on January 2, the product of a merger between Comcast and NBC. Philadelphia is a key city for the merged company, since one of the strongest markets Comcast had was the City of Brotherly Love, with Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia a particularly viable outfit.
Main Events signed a deal to provide boxing programming after the completion of the merger but in advance of the transition. It carries the title of “NBC Sports Network Fight Night.” They are also slated to run on March 24 (Brooklyn), June 16 and December 8, and dates in between could certainly be scheduled.