King sues Chavez seeking $1.35M in loans, expenses Regardless, promoter says he bet on fighter tonight

June 07, 1996|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,SUN STAFF

LAS VEGAS -- A bizarre twist was added to the Julio Cesar Chavez-Oscar De La Hoya super lightweight title bout at Caesars Palace tonight when co-promoter Don King filed a suit against Chavez in Clark County (Nev.) District Court, claiming the champion failed to pay back $1.35 million in loans and fight expenses.

At the same time, King said he has wagered $600,000 on Chavez, who is a 2-to-1 underdog in the Las Vegas sports books.

King's longtime bitter rival, Bob Arum, is the principal promoter of tonight's match that sold out all 16,000 seats in the first week.

Rather than contest whether King still held contractual ties to Chavez, Arum made King an equal partner in the closed-circuit TV venture.

"My first obligation was to Oscar," said Arum. "I didn't want the biggest fight of his life mixed up in litigation. At his age, it would have been a major distraction.

"King and I agreed that we can't forget the bitterness of the past, but we're as grown up as we're ever going to be," Arum said. "To this point, King has cooperated as much as possible with the promotion. Whether we can work together again is a case-by-case business."

Surprisingly, Arum supported King in his suit against Chavez.

"This time Don is in the right," he said. "Chavez owed him $1.8 million and paid him $500,000 from his last purse against Scott Walker in February.

"All parties agreed that he would pay the remainder from the De La Hoya fight, but the Nevada Commission would not attach his purse, so King justifiably sued him."

Over the years, Chavez has had a working relationship with both major fight promoters, but last fall he testified against King in an insurance fraud trial.

The fighter said he never received an alleged $350,000 in training expenses from King for a scheduled bout with Harold Brazier that was canceled because of injury.

The federal trial ended in a hung jury, but King is expected to be re-tried this fall.

When a reporter asked Chavez if he believed King had wagered $600,000 on his whipping De La Hoya, the champion replied, "Bull."

Pub Date: 6/07/96

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