Pettway forced out of title bout by injury Hand surgery necessary

career not threatened

January 01, 1998|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,SUN STAFF

A hand injury that will require surgery has forced Vincent Pettway to withdraw from his title fight with International Boxing Federation welterweight champion Felix Trinidad in Mexico City on March 7.

The former junior middleweight champion from Baltimore injured his right hand in winning a tuneup fight with Gerald Reed in Florida on Dec. 13. He re-aggravated the injury during a recent sparring session at manager Mack Lewis' Broadway gym.

He was examined Tuesday by Dr. Shaw Wilgis, a Baltimore hand surgeon. Wilgis recommended surgery to fuse the second metacarpal bone that attaches the hand and wrist.

The surgery, which will require a bone graft from his arm, would prevent Pettway from sparring for six to eight weeks, negating any possibility to battle the unbeaten Trinidad in early March.

ZTC Yesterday, Lewis informed promoter Don King of his fighter's injury, allowing Trinidad to find another challenger. Lewis will appeal to IBF president Bob Lee to keep Pettway in his present ranking as the No. 1 contender.

Pettway took the news philosophically.

"You can't fight a great champion like Trinidad with one hand," he said. "You have to be 100 percent because you know it's going to be a war.

"But the doctor said there is no reason I can't continue my boxing career. In fact, Dr. Wilgis said the hand should be better after the surgery."

Pettway, 32, has had recurring problems with his right hand, dating back to his amateur days in 1983 when he first injured it while competing for a berth on the U.S. Olympic boxing team in Colorado Springs.

"It's gotten worse over the years because of bone fragments and the scar tissue that has built up," he said.

But Pettway (41-6-1) went on to win the junior middleweight crown by knocking out Italy's Gianfranco Rosi in September 1994 and successfully defended it by knocking out Simon Brown seven months later.

He lost his 154-pound title in August 1995 when he was stopped in 12 rounds by Paul Vaden. Following an unsuccessful challenge against then champion Terry Norris in February 1996, Pettway returned to the welterweight ranks and has won his last three bouts.

The Trinidad-Pettway fight was to have been part of a championship tripleheader promoted by King in Mexico City.

Pub Date: 1/01/98

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