Difficulty making the 147-pound limit and a simmering feud with the International Boxing Federation have prompted Simon Brown to consider forfeiting his IBF welterweight crown.
Brown, a native of Jamaica who lives in Germantown, was to make a mandatory title defense against top-ranked Glenwood Brown of New York by July 18.
Don King, who has promoted the champion's last two fights, made a purse offer to Glenwood Brown that was accepted, but it lacked a date and site. "The fight is now in limbo," a King spokesman said yesterday.
"I know I could beat Glenwood Brown or any other welterweight around," said Simon Brown, who won the World Boxing Council title in March when he knocked out his best friend and former stablemate, Maurice Blocker.
"But I'm not interested in fighting unless I get a $1 million guarantee," he said. "I think there is a better opportunity for me to make big money by moving up to the junior middleweight division. I would also have an easier time making 154 pounds."
Brown said he would like to challenge WBC super-welterweight champion Terry Norris, or even move farther up the scale to battle IBF middleweight king Michael Nunn.
Norris, who knocked Sugar Ray Leonard into retirement, will defend his title against Donald Curry in Palm Springs, Calif., June 1. Nunn will put his middleweight crown on the line May 10 against James Toney in Davenport, Iowa.
Brown said his readiness to relinquish his IBF title is not the result of a dispute with IBF president Bob Lee, but there has been growing dissension between Lee and King, who is Brown's principal promoter.
King apparently persuaded junior welterweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez of Mexico to forsake his IBF title. Like Brown, Chavez also owns the WBC title in his weight class.
King said that because Lee "has cozied up" to rival promoters, he is doing his best to discredit the IBC.
"I can't say how the wheel will turn, but the IBF title is becoming meaningless and worthless," King told the New York Post. "It's been corrupted by [promoters] Bob Arum, Dan Duva, Shelly Finkel and Cedric Kushner, but most of all by Bob Lee.
"Lee can't stand having these world-renowned champions resign his titles. I think the IBF can still be saved, but it needs new leadership."
If Simon Brown refuses to fight Glenwood Brown, Lee said, the welterweight title would be declared vacant. A championship match then would be arranged between Glenwood Brown and the No. 2 contender, Buddy McGirt. Both have promotional ties with Madison Square Garden.
"We hope to have this title situation clarified by July," Lee said. "But this is just another bold attempt by King to control boxing.
"It's just like what he tried to pull in Tokyo when he wanted the three world boxing organizations to continue recognizing Mike Tyson as heavyweight champion after he was knocked out by [James] 'Buster' Douglas. King always wants to apply his own rules."