Lewis' manager is latest to be infuriated by Don King's close attention to detail

September 13, 1994|By PHIL JACKMAN

News from the Cauliflower Patch:

People in the fight game have been known to rant and rave about promoter Don King even when he does nothing. Which is exactly why heavyweight champ Lennox Lewis' manager, Frank Maloney, was livid.

See, King's fighter, Oliver McCall, was supposed to show up in London over the weekend preparatory to his challenge for the World Boxing Council crown, and to help out with the publicity for the scrap in Wembley Arena Sept. 24.

Instead, McCall's either 125 or 60 miles from Picadilly Circus, depending upon whose sighting you believe, and refusing to take part in any briefings. "King says he can't control McCall, the guy's an atomic bomb about ready to explode," said Maloney.

But Frank has a little different theory: "This is Don's way of sabotaging the promotion. If McCall walks out, it'll probably be because he finally found out what he's being paid. King's getting a $2 million promotional fee."

King, noted Maloney, is fresh off co-producing a show in Birmingham, England, Sunday night that saw Juan Carlos Gimenez win most of the rounds from WBC super-middleweight titleholder Nigel Benn only to lose by a ridiculously wide margin on all three judges' scorecards.

"But that isn't what the crowd was upset about," explained Maloney. "It was the football [soccer] crowd [often referred to as hooligans] from a couple of rival camps. Both had a favorite scheduled to meet each other and the two crews were seated next to each other and alcoholic beverages were sold throughout. Only King and [co-promoter] Frank Warren would do such a thing."

After the storm subsided, Lewis did point out he's fit and confident for the McCall bout, saying, "He's been around a long time. If he was any good he would have made his mark by now. As for King and his underhanded tricks, they don't surprise me or bother me."

Agreeing that this mandatory title defense being staged in England was probably costing him money, Lennox said, "the fight being here takes it out of the hands of Don King. I've watched a few King promotions and they've been pretty shifty. It's probably better to lose a little [money] than lose a lot [the championship through some nefarious means]."

In talks with Lewis over the last few weeks, the champ hasn't flashed a whole lot of enthusiasm when speaking of the McCall challenge. "I take all opponents seriously," he said, "but I realize the fight that people want to see is Riddick Bowe and I, a fight he should have taken long ago. That's bad management.

"Right now, the fight's probably going to go in March and I hope he's up for it."

Then the hope is Michael Moorer will agree to put his titles (World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation) on the line in a reunification bout.

"My motivation is seeing how much I can accomplish in the ring," said Lewis. "It appears Moorer's is strictly economic at this point."

Moorer fights AARP member George Foreman Nov. 5.

Regarding Bowe's recent controversial match against Buster Mathis Jr., the one wherein the once undisputed champion knocked out his opponent while the guy was kneeling down awaiting an 8-count, Lewis said, "It's hard to judge how Bowe fought because he didn't show much but ring rust . . . and that he likes to hit when the other person's down."

Maloney is confident that once McCall is found and shows up at the fight site, "King this weekend will proceed to make a public spectacle of himself, as always, and help us fill the [11,700-seat] arena."

Thing is, King will be on the other side of the world hyping another one of his famed Las Vegas extravaganzas, this one's called "Guts and Glory" or "Unfinished Business," you have a choice, pitting all the "little" champions in his endless stable.

Saturday evening (7 p.m.) Baltimore's Vincent Pettway (36-4) gets another shot at the IBF junior-middleweight title of Gianfranco Rosi (57-3) on Showtime. Than, at 9 p.m. on pay-per-view, Julio Cesar Chavez (90-1) takes on Meldrick Taylor (32-3), Juan Coggi (66-2) opposes Frankie Randall (49-3), James Leija (28-0) tests Gabriel Ruelas (38-2) and Felix Trinidad (23-0) goes against "Yory Boy" Campas (56-0).

* Unbeaten Derrell Coley (23-0) defends his North American Boxing Federation welterweight title next Tuesday against that noted journeyman TBA at the Washington Armory. The bout will be on USA Network beginning at 9 p.m. Darryl Tyson meets Reggie Green for the U.S. Boxing Association junior welterweight title in the co-feature.

* Caught that modern-day Sir Laurence Olivier actor Mickey Rourke in his latest venture in boxing yesterday on the tabloid-TV show "Hard Copy" and the man is even worse than you might imagine. Which means he's probably ready for Mark Gastineau.

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