Chavez-Taylor rematch headlines Sept. 17 card

August 03, 1994|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Sun Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- Don King, conducting business as usual while awaiting his trial on a charge of insurance fraud, was in his familiar salesman's role. He appeared in high-octane form yesterday, selling his multi-championship pay-per-view fight show at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas Sept. 17.

King chose "unfinished business" as his punch line to dramatize the super-welterweight rematch between World Boxing Council champion Julio Cesar Chavez and a rejuvenated Meldrick Taylor.

Their first encounter four years ago ended in heated debate over the referee's action. Richard Steele stopped the fight with two seconds remaining in the 12th and final round, when Taylor, well ahead on the scorecards, did not respond soon enough to the referee's questions about his ability to continue.

After two more knockout losses and a weight problem, the two-time former champion has regained fighting shape and enough credibility to again challenge a somewhat tarnished Chavez.

But Chavez-Taylor II is only part of the unfinished business.

Serving as a free cable-TV appetizer on Showtime to the pay-per-view program will be a rematch between International Boxing Federation junior-middleweight champion Gianfranco Rosi of Italy and Vincent Pettway of Baltimore.

Last March, Rosi, who has held his title since 1989, was ahead on the three judges' cards when he clashed heads with Pettway early in the sixth round, resulting in a deep gash over the champion's left eye.

Ring physician Flip Homansky ruled Rosi unfit to continue. Under IBF rules, the fight was declared a technical draw since six full rounds had not been completed, and a rematch was ordered.

Pettway says he was fortunate that the butt had not occurred after the sixth round but also believes that Rosi benefited from referee Mills Lane's indecision.

"Right before we banged heads, I caught Rosi with a solid right hand that really shook him," he said. "That did more damage than any butt. Rosi just quit and walked back to his corner, yelling for a doctor. If Lane had seen it that way, I'd be the champion now, not Rosi."

Pettway also revealed a secret he had kept before the first fight.

"See this scar under my right eye?" he said, pointing to an old wound that left a deep blemish. "I told people it was a training injury.

"Actually, I had a car accident three weeks before the fight. . . . But I kept quiet. I'd waited so long for a title fight, I didn't want to lose my chance."

Pettway, 29, is confident that he can solve Rosi's awkward, grabbing style and bring the first championship belt to Baltimore in more than a half-century.

"I was getting to Rosi before our last fight was stopped," Pettway said. "Last time, I started slow. This time, I'll be stronger and make him fight at my pace."

Taylor also vowed that his rematch will end differently.

"I've waited four years for this chance. I eat, walk and sleep thinking of this fight," said the native Philadelphian.

FIGHT FACTS

What: Showtime and pay-per-view championship boxing card.

When: Sept. 17.

Where: MGM Grand, Las Vegas.

Pay-per-view: Outlets will charge $24.99 and $34.99.

Main event: Julio Cesar Chavez (90-1-1), Mexico, vs. Meldrick Taylor (32-3-1), Philadelphia, for Chavez's WBC super-lightweight title.

Undercard: Five championship fights, including Gianfranco Rosi (57-3-1), Italy vs. Vincent Pettway (36-4-1), Baltimore, for Rosi's IBF junior-middleweight title.

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