Minutes before a scheduled news conference to announce the first boxing event at Capital Centre since summer 1984, arena officials instead said they were canceling the May 10 card because the opponent for Washington welterweight champion Maurice Blocker in the main event decided to withdraw.

"It was our first time back in boxing and we wanted to put our best foot forward," said Capital Centre's assistant general manager, Bob Zurfluh. "We feel with the main show [off], we would rather cancel this and look down the road."

He said the decision was made after Charles Rosenbleet, president of Star Sport Inc., learned Wednesday night that Blocker's opponent, Allan Braswell of New York (20-10-1, 12 knockouts), withdrew.

According to Rosenbleet, Braswell's managers wanted to skip the proposed 12-round North American Boxing Federation title bout with Blocker to concentrate on an ESPN tournament late next month.

Rosenbleet was trying to get Juan Alonzo Villa of Mexico to substitute for Braswell. Villa (28-6, 18 knockouts) is ranked 13th in the NABF.

Rosenbleet was not happy about the Centre's decision and said he still wanted the fights scheduled for May 10 and would seek a new site.

"You got some pressure applied by people associated with the tournament," he said. "I might feel the same way if I was in the same position. My feeling would be to replace the fighter today with a suitable substitute. But I'm just one party in this."

The primary attractions on the canceled card, Blocker and Boone Pultz of Washington, the U.S. Boxing Association cruiserweight champion, said they were not surprised by the complications.

"Everything is tentative in boxing," said Pultz. "I've seen it all happen."

Said Blocker: "I guess it's the ups and downs of boxing . . . My main concern is being ready for the next fight. I can't afford to be let down from a fight being canceled."