Pettway joins Don King, is fined for fracas with ref

April 14, 1993|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Staff Writer

After riding an emotional roller coaster the past seven days, Baltimore junior middleweight Vincent Pettway discovered April can be the kindest and cruelest month.

It began full of promise for Pettway, 27, who defends his U.S. Boxing Association title against Dan Sherry of Canada at the Baltimore Arena on May 12. A week ago, accompanied by manager-trainer Mack Lewis, he traveled to New York to meet with promoter Don King.

A promotional agreement was signed, guaranteeing Pettway at least three fights a year on King's boxing shows, but the major inducement was the promise of a world title fight before the end of the year for at least a $50,000 purse.

But that encouraging news was offset Monday when Pettway was fined $500 by the Maryland State Athletic Association after a review of charges that he assaulted referee Chris Wolleson during a Nov. 24 boxing card at Martin's West.

Still, Pettway's chances for a title fight this year look good. Ranked No. 1 by the International Boxing Federation, Pettway is considered the mandatory challenger for 154-pound champion Gianfranco Rosi of Italy, who must meet a September deadline.

But King can help speed the process considerably. Rosi reportedly has terminated his relationship with European promoter Cedric Kushner and is expected to sign with King next week. Having Rosi and Pettway under contract will remove a lot of obstacles for King in arranging a championship bout between the fighters.

"Even if Rosi should lose his [IBF] title before September, King could help maneuver Pettway into a title fight for the World Boxing Council or World Boxing Association titles," said Al Braverman, King's matchmaker.

If he does get the title shot, he'll be $500 poorer. Pettway, who did not appear on the November card, jumped into the ring, apparently enraged by what he thought was Wolleson's hasty stoppage of stablemate Scott Jones' light heavyweight bout with Jason Waller.

Al Ackerman, a video producer working for promoter Stuart Satosky, captured Pettway's actions on a videotape that was introduced as evidence at the hearing. Wolleson testified that Pettway hit him on the arm several times and then pursued him around the ring.

Commission chairman D. Chester O'Sullivan and commissioners Al Flora and Ben Alperstein decided to fine Pettway $1,000. He was informed it would be reduced to $500 if he made a formal apology to the referee within a month.

"I see no reason to apologize," said Pettway, who said he plans to appeal the decision to the Circuit Court. "It was my word against his [Wolleson's].

"Besides, why am I being judged by the commission? I was a spectator, not a participant on the show. If any other spectator had climbed in the ring, would he have had to face a commission hearing?"

But state boxing secretary Dennis Gring said commission regulations allow it to take action against a state licensee for violating the code of conduct. Pettway, at the time of the incident, was a licensed boxer.

After a fatherly chat with Pettway, Lewis decided to pay the $500 fine yesterday for his fighter, who has a month to apologize. Lewis said his main consideration was assuring that Pettway would fight on May 12.

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