Joppy rethinking contract with King

Idled middleweight champ signs on with new manager

February 12, 2000|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Boxing manager Steve Nelson needed only a short sales pitch to persuade World Boxing Association middleweight champion William Joppy it was time for him to sever ties with Washington adviser J. D. Brown and consider seeking a release from promoter Don King.

"All I told him was that he was the best champion nobody knows," said Nelson, who also co-manages heavyweight contender Hasim Rahman of Baltimore with Stan Hoffman.

Nelson signed Joppy to a three-year agreement guaranteeing him at least four fights a year.

"We would first like to get his mandatory with Mexico's Rito Ruvalcaba out of the way in April or May," said Nelson.

"After that, we see a number of attractive fights for Joppy. We'd like to match him against Dana Rosenblatt, Davey Hilton of Canada and [welterweight king] Felix Trinidad, who might look to fight Joppy if he beats David Reid for the 154-pound title."

Joppy, who spent seven months out of the ring last year after suffering a neck injury in an auto accident, said he was tired of his inactivity under King's promotional agreement that limited him to two fights each of the past three years.

"That kept me out of the public's eye," he said. "Fernando Vargas and Shane Mosley won titles after I did, and they've gotten a lot more publicity.

"I'm 29 now. I can't keep waiting on King to put me in fights," he said. "If I stopped fighting today, I'd be called a `broke' fighter. I've been waiting to get back in action since I beat Julio Cesar Green in September. I need to stay busy and make decent money to support my family."

Joppy noted that King has an option year remaining on his contract. "We'll see what he does now," the Silver Spring native said. "If he doesn't get me any fights, we'll have to sue for breach of contract."

Joppy, who won his share of the middleweight crown in 1996 by stopping Japan's Shinji Takehara, would like to unify the title with matches against Washington rival Keith Holmes (WBC) and Bernard Hopkins (IBF).

"Holmes would be a great fight for the Washington area, but fighting Hopkins would make the whole world take notice," he said.

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