Lewis is offered $12 million to fight Bowe WBA, IBF titles would be on line BOXING

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

WASHINGTON -- The possibility of a Riddick Bowe-Lennox Lewis heavyweight showdown was rekindled yesterday when Bowe's manager, Rock Newman, offered Lewis $12 million for a championship match at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas on Nov. 5.

Newman made his latest pitch in a letter to Lewis' promoter, Dan Duva, of Main Events, Inc., who also has promotional ties to Bowe, the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation champion. Copies were sent to Frank Maloney, who manages Lewis, the English-born heavyweight recognized as the World Boxing Council champion, and to Lewis.

Newman set a Monday deadline for a response, promising a letter of credit if the reply is positive.

Said Newman: "It's been reported extensively in the media the past several days since the shameful amateur-like performance by Lewis against Tony Tucker that he still welcomes a fight against Bowe. . . In an effort to make this match, I have chosen to send this letter to you and the media simultaneously to avoid deception and fraudulent accusations that the Lewis camp responded with to our last offer."

That offer last February, rejected by Lewis' financial advisers, was for a reported $10 million, but came with the addendum that Lewis must first relinquish his WBC belt.

Bowe had trashed the belt earlier, refusing WBC president Jose Sulaiman's ultimatum to make Lewis his first title defense after winning the undisputed crown from Evander Holyfield last November.

"This time we're not even asking that," Newman said. "We're going to cut the WBC out entirely. This will be only for the IBF and WBA titles. Lewis can keep the WBC belt, and do whatever he wants with it."

But the biggest stumbling block in reaching an agreement remains Duva, who has a three-fight option on Bowe, giving him a percentage of his pay-per-view earnings.

"I don't owe Dan Duva anything," Newman said. "I'm giving his guy [Lewis] $12 million, and they can divide it up any way they like. But he's not also going to dip into Bowe's pot at the same time. But if I were Lewis, I'd take this offer in a New York minute."

Newman labeled Lewis' disappointing 12-round victory over Tucker on Saturday as "one of the worst pay-per-view events in history."

NOTES: Maryland lightweight Sharmba Mitchell (30-0, 18 KOs), in line for all three world titles, will meet Kenny Baysmore (28-5, 24 KOs) of Washington, in a 10-round bout on the Riddick Bowe-Jesse Ferguson heavyweight championship card at RFK Stadium next Saturday. . . . Former Cuban super-heavyweight champ Jorge Gonzalez will appear in a 10-round preliminary bout against Dwayne Hall of Rochester, N.Y. . . . A 12-round amateur card pitting open-class fighters from the area will be held at Michael's Eighth avenue in Glen Burnie on Monday night. Tickets are $10. Call (410) 685-1499.

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