Speculation that former North American Boxing Federation and World Boxing Council junior middleweight champion Lupe Aquino of Santa Paula might appear on the May boxing card at the Ventura Theatre became moot when the promoters canceled the card. Lonnie Smith, a middleweight from Las Vegas who was scheduled to box in the main event, injured his hip during a sparing bout and called off the fight.
"We got jammed up on time to do anything else so I decided to call off the show so we can put on a quality show in July," said promoter Paul Konapelsky.
With May's program a bust, Konapelsky is looking at July and August cards. And the name Aquino once again is coming to the forefront.
Said Konapelsky:"We would like to shoot for an August date for a possible Aquino--Larry Musgrove fight."
Joe Sayatovich, Aquino's manager, says he has not been contacted.
"I don't even know who these people are," he said. "I'm sitting right here by the phone waiting.
"If they ever call, I will say we will fight Musgrove or anyone, any place, any time. Lupe is a devastating fighter again and he has been knocking people out with body punches, so bring them on."
Meanwhile, Musgrove's manager, Jason Schlessinger, is talking as if the deal is almost complete.
"Larry said he definitely wants to fight Aquino," he said, adding that he will contact "Aquino's manager with an offer."
Any questions about Aquino's eligibility to fight locally or in California were dispelled by California State Athletic Commission executive director Ken Gray, who said, "We have no problem with Lupe fighting anywhere at this time."
Schlessinger has high hopes for Musgrove, who won the World Boxing Association Americas middleweight title on a unanimous decision over Tim Williams at the Ventura Theatre in April. He would like to see the Aquino--Musgrove fight come off in Ventura and be used as a springboard for bigger and better things for his boxer.
While the on again, off again controversy about Aquino fighting before a supportive Ventura crowd continues, it appears that each passing month brings Aquino a little closer to a confirmed date, probably August or September.
Amid all the Aquino bantering, Konapelsky has been working on a program for June, but no live boxing at the theatre is scheduled.
Konapelsky has received the rights from Top Rank Inc. to show the Leonard--Hearns fight on closed circuit in Ventura County areas where no cable or pay-per-view is available. Confirmed sites for the closed circuit broadcast are: Thousand Oaks Holiday Inn, Cheer's and Hap's in Simi Valley, Canyon Club and Oak Pit Grill in Agoura Hills and the Santa Clarita Lanes in Saugus.