TASMANIAN boxer Luke Jackson was left gutted yesterday after a dispute between headline acts Anthony Mundine and Shane Mosley robbed him of the biggest fight of his fledgling pro career.
The 28-year-old London Olympian was due to fight Frenchman Alexis Barateau on the undercard of Mundine's WBA light-middleweight fight at the Sydney Entertainment Centre tonight before Mosley walked out on the event.
The American three-time world champion was reported to have flown home yesterday morning after promoter Vlad Warton failed to deliver an upfront fee of $700,000 stipulated in his $1 million contract.
Mundine was disappointed by his opponent's actions just hours before the scheduled weigh-in and announced plans to fly to Los Angeles with his manager Khoder Nasser to try to make the contest happen in December.
Meanwhile, Jackson, who has been training with Mundine and was seeking to extend his unbeaten pro record, was left dejected by the cancellation.
``I have been up here in Sydney for eight weeks now working very hard to put on a great performance,'' Jackson said.
``I can honestly say my body is in the best condition it's ever been. It's a sad day for Australian boxing, I'm gutted.''
The lightweight's first two fights since turning pro after the Olympics produced wins over Thai opponents in Melbourne, by technical knockout against Baikon Lokromklao and unanimous points against Thongthai Rajanondh.
Mundine said he had spent three months preparing for the fight and was also bitterly disappointed.
``Unfortunately it wasn't meant to be, maybe it's a blessing in disguise and maybe we can salvage the event,'' Mundine said.
He refused to blame Warton, who was Kostya Tszyu's former promoter, or Mosley.
``Vlad saw an opportunity and he put it together,'' he said.
``I didn't know if it was on or off until I heard he was on the plane. I am devastated.
``I lay no blame on Mosley. He is just a fighter himself and he just wants to make sure he gets paid.''