King denies having mob connectionsBoxing promoter Don King...

Sports briefly

November 06, 1991

King denies having mob connections

Boxing promoter Don King says allegations that he has ties to organized crime are the vendetta of a journalist and the fantasies of a former FBI agent.

"People are trying to assassinate my business life," King said yesterday at a news conference.

The allegations were made on the show "Frontline," reported by Jack Newfield, which was to be shown on PBS last night, and in a Sports Illustrated story last week by Joseph Spinelli, a former FBI agent, as told to writer William Nack.

"Let me categorically deny any association with the mob," said King, who once ran a numbers game in Cleveland and served four years for manslaughter.

* Evander Holyfield can lose the undisputed heavyweight championship Nov. 23 at Atlanta, but Francesco Damiani can't win it. The IBF Executive Committee voted last week not to rank Damiani among its top contenders, and the bout isn't being sanctioned as a championship match, said IBF president Bob Lee. The WBC is not sanctioning the fight, but the WBA is.

Damiani, of Italy, can become the WBA champion, but should he score a major upset, the IBF and WBC titles would be declared vacant.

Hockey

The planned sale of the Pittsburgh Penguins to an investors group is threatened by possible legal action by a Pittsburgh group that claims it was to have acquired half of the team.

Paul Martha, who once ran the Penguins for the Edward J. DeBartolo Corp., heads the group that claims it had an agreement to buy 50 percent of the team once investors Howard Baldwin and Morris Belzberg acquired it from DeBartolo.

KDKA radio reported yesterday that Martha's group might file a breach-of-contract suit to block the sale to the Baldwin-Belzberg group. Under the canceled agreement, Martha was to have remained with the Penguins as chief executive officer.

The NHL Board of Governors is to meet today to vote on approval of the sale.

* A Boston Bruins fan pleaded innocent yesterday to charges he attacked Detroit Red Wings captain Steve Yzerman after a weekend game at Boston Garden. Paul Colletti, 20, of Braintree will return to Municipal Court on Nov. 19 for a status hearing on charges of assault and battery and being a disorderly person, court officials said.

* A 10-game suspension against the Red Wings' Bob Probert was reversed. NHL officials had ruled he instigated a fight in Boston on Saturday. NHL officials said the decision to lift the suspension was based on a review of videotapes provided by coach Bryan Murray.

* The NHL Players Association released salary figures that list 16 millionaires this season, starting with the Kings' Wayne Gretzky ($3 million). Second is Pittsburgh center Mario Lemieux ($2.38 million).

Third is Pat LaFontaine, recently traded to Buffalo after a contract dispute with the New York Islanders, at $1.6 million, followed by St. Louis' Brett Hull and Detroit's Steve Yzerman ($1.5 million each).

Soccer

Navy is top seed and host for the Patriot League soccer tournament Saturday and Sunday at Dewey Field in Annapolis. Navy (12-6, 6-1) will play Army (7-4-3, 4-2-1) Saturday at 1:30 p.m. No. 2 seed Lehigh (10-7-2, 5-1-1) will play Lafayette (9-7-1, 5-2) at 11 a.m. Sunday's championship game is at 1 p.m.

* Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference rivals Loyola (7-0, 9-8-1) and La Salle (6-1, 11-4-1) will play for the regular-season title and the top seed in this weekend's championship tournament when they meet at Curley Field today at 3 p.m. The tournament will be played at Loyola, which has not lost in 24 MAAC games since entering the league in 1989. No. 3 Fairfield and No. 4 Siena are in the field for Saturday's semifinals.

College wrestling

The NCAA has accused suspended Oklahoma State wrestling coach Joe Seay of letting players use his credit card to travel to a wrestling camp, according to a published report. Other NCAA allegations involve paying the expenses of redshirt athletes to compete unattached in open tournaments, The Tulsa Tribune reported. The allegations are contained in an NCAA official letter inquiry that the school received Saturday.

Tennis

Top seed Michael Chang moved into the second round of the Birmingham, England, indoor men's tournament by beating Marian Vajda of Czechoslovakia, 6-1, 6-2. Former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash of Australia defeated Stefano Pescosolido of Italy, 6-3, 7-6 (7-2), and fourth-seeded MaliVai Washington of the United States beat Sweden's Peter Lundgren, 6-3, 3-6, 7-5.

* Unseeded Australian Mark Woodforde upset second-seeded Petr Korda of Czechoslovakia, 0-6, 6-2, 6-3, in the first round of the $330,000 Kremlin Cup at Olympic Stadium in Moscow. American Jim Grabb surprised countryman and last year's Kremlin Cup finalist Tim Mayotte, 3-6, 7-5, 7-5.

* Top-seeded Conchita Martinez and No. 2 Julie Halard were first-round upset victims in the $150,000 Virginia Slims of Nashville in Brentwood, Tenn. Martinez lost to Australia's Nicole Provis, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. Isabella Demongeot upset Halard, 6-1, 6-1.

* Sixth-seeded Lori McNeil fought off seven set points and beat Shannon McCarthy, 7-5, 6-3, in the first round of the $350,000 Virginia Slims of California tennis tournament in Oakland.

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