Holyfield will fight but who?

January 05, 1994|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Staff writer

The only thing Evander Holyfield made perfectly clear yesterday was his plan to continue fighting in 1994 with the unification of the heavyweight championship as his ultimate goal.

But Holyfield, who regained the International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Association titles last November when he upset Riddick Bowe, was uncertain whether his next challenger in April will be the IBF's top-ranked contender, Michael Moorer, or World Boxing Council champion Lennox Lewis of England.

IBF president Bob Lee has threatened to strip Holyfield of his IBF crown unless he makes Moorer his next title defense.

"Naturally, I want to unify the title," Holyfield said in a conference call from his home in Atlanta. "Fans can argue who is the best player in football or baseball, but the public wants only one heavyweight champion, and right now, Lewis owns the other belt.

"But if the IBF says I have to fight Moorer next, then that's what I'll have to do. But I'm hoping Bob Lee will reconsider."

Dan Duva, president of Main Events, who serves as a promoter for Holyfield and Lewis, plans to appeal to the IBF executive committee if Lee remains adamant.

Duva said he met recently with Moorer and his representatives, and they agreed to step aside to allow a unification match this spring.

"Actually, I also met with Lewis and his manager [Frank Maloney]," said Duva. Usually, the toughest part is to get the fighters and managers to agree. But that proved the easy part.

"The tough part is to get the sanctioning body [IBF] to agree. But we have to make a decision -- Lewis or Moorer -- within 10 days."

Moorer stepped aside last year to allow the Bowe-Holyfield rematch, but Duva said it was in the unbeaten contender's "best interest" again to delay his title bid.

"This way, Moorer can fight the Lewis-Holyfield winner for the unified title next fall, and for more money," said Duva.

Put on hold for 1994 was Bowe, whose manager, Rock Newman, last week offered to guarantee Holyfield $20 million if he fights Bowe next.

"We're not freezing out Bowe," said Duva. "But right now, we only have Moorer and Lewis in our plans this year."

Duva speculated that Holyfield would earn $20 million by fighting Lewis and $15 million for fighting Moorer, who looked unimpressive in winning a 10-round decision over journeyman Mike Evans in Reno, Nev., Dec. 4. Lewis knocked out Frank Bruno in a sloppy performance in Cardiff, Wales, in November.

NOTE: Simon Brown of Mount Airy, who won the WBC super-welterweight title with a stunning, fourth-round KO of Terry Norris in Mexico last month, will make his first title defense Jan. 29 against Troy Waters of Australia, a spokesman for promoter Don King said yesterday.

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