Much like Jeremy Stephens back in 2012, Avery Sparrow is not fighting tonight.
Golden Boy Boxing on DAZN was supposed to feature a co-main event between lightweight prospect Ryan Garcia (18-0, 15 KOs) and Avery Sparrow (10-1, 3 KOs), with Garcia clearly the ticket-seller for the event in Carson, California. In a dramatic turn of events, Sparrow didn’t turn up for Friday’s weigh-ins, and that’s because the Philadelphia native was arrested.
Sparrow’s promoter, Russell Peltz, said the fighter was wanted by police for allegedly “brandishing a handgun in a domestic dispute in April.”
Peltz said he was alerted about Sparrow’s pending legal situation Tuesday by Golden Boy Promotions matchmaker Robert Diaz. Peltz then contacted his own attorney, George Bochetto, who attempted to cut a deal with authorities to allow Sparrow to fight Saturday.
Peltz said he believed an agreement had been struck with the U.S. Marshal Service, as long as Sparrow’s fight purse was withheld until he showed up to court in Philadelphia on Monday.
But on Friday morning, before the scheduled weigh-in, Sparrow was apprehended at a Los Angeles-area Target store, according to Peltz.
Well it’s one thing to get arrested for felony assault in a parking lot like Jeremy Stephens, but it’s another to have the feds searching for you across the country throughout fight week.
Now obviously Garcia vs. Sparrow is off, but the story isn’t nearly that simple. Garcia’s current relationship with Golden Boy Promotions is not a good one — his displeasure over getting a $50,000 purse as a headliner for a GBP show that pulled in $1 million in revenue is what’s most notable — and the way this debacle has been handled isn’t making things any better.
Golden Boy president Eric Gomez initially claimed that Garcia turned down last-minute replacement Romero Duno, who also made weight and was scheduled to fight on the undercard, going full Dana White in the process.
More from Gomez: "Today Sparrow gets arrested and we tell (Garcia's team) Duno is still willing to fight. Ryan turned him down and said 'he’s too tough.' Duno is available, he's on weight, he's on the card and Ryan turned him down. He doesn’t want to fight him."— Lance Pugmire (@pugboxing) September 13, 2019
Garcia unleashed a fiery rant on Twitter, which included quote tweeting Gomez’s incredible backpedal in an attempt to clarify matters.
Golden Boy evidently knew that the possibility of Sparrow getting arrested before the fight was there, and Coppinger reports that Garcia’s team was not happy with how there wasn’t an immediate Plan B.
It looked as if this drama would have a good ending for Garcia, as a deal was reported to be in place for him to fight former world title challenger Petr Petrov, who was in California and was preparing for a bout the following weeks.
Evidently, that’s a no-go.
Due to unfortunate events, I will not be fighting tmmr and they will not be compromising on there mistakes! I did everything in my power I came in on weight and trained my ass off. God’s in control now the rest will take care of itself... Thank you for everyone’s support!— Ryan Garcia (@KingRyanG) September 14, 2019
so I got final, final, -- this time we REALLY mean it - confirmation from the camp of Petr Petrov that he will not be facing Ryan Garcia tonight. They thought they really had this fight done last night and were holding out hope this morning #boxing— Steve Kim (@StevESPNKim) September 14, 2019
In summary: Sparrow is arrested, Garcia is without a fight, and Golden Boy have a hell of a lot to do to patch things up with someone they had hoped would be one of their next superstars.
Sometimes these things happen in boxing.