Muhammad Ali will defned his heavyweight boxing championship against Alfredo Evangelista of Spain in about that will be televised (by ABC) from Capital Centre on Monday night, May 16.
"I want to dedicate this fight to the glory of King Juan Carlos and Spain," Evangelista said through an interpreter yesterday at a promotional news conference in New York City.
Ali drew only 12,472 in winning a disputed decision over Jimmy Young at Capital Centre on April 30. The wonder is what there is about Evangelista that will make him an attraction.
Angelo Dundee, Ali's trainer, said from Miami Beach he knew nothing about Evangelista. But he assured the caller "I will find out everything about Evangelista from my man in Spain . . . what he does, how much roadwork he runs, even how he breathes."
Don King Productions, the promoter, gave Evangelista's record as 13-1-1, but George Kanter, who books American fighters in Europe and vice versa, said from New York, "Evangelista has had 18 bouts winning 16 by knockouts. He had fights in his native Uruguay and other places in South America that did not get in the record book."
Kanter tried to be objective even though his athlete, Alfio Righetti of Italy, was sidetracked from the title shot because he was not ranked.
Nat Loubet of The Ring magazine, so-called bible of boxing all over the world, confirmed that "The World Boxing Council was ticked off because Ali was going to fight Righetti. It threatened to take Ali's title away if he didn't fight a ranking contender.
"Don King asked if Evangelista was rated by somebody and he booked Evangelista when he found out that the WBC ranked him No. 10 contender, although I don't know why. The WBA ranks him seventh but we (Ring) don't intent to rate him -unless, of course, he beats Ali.
"We have correspondents in Italy and Spain and from what they tell us, Evangelista has won 13 or 15 bouts, 13 by knockouts. In his only bout in 1977, in February, he lost to Lorenzo Zanon of Italy. He drew with Jose A. Galvez of Elmira. Spain, in 1976.
"He kayoed Jose Manuel Ibar Urtain, who was the Spanish champion, in five rounds and knocked out Rudy Lubbers of Holland, who went 12 round with Ali, losing the decision."
Loubert, who attended the news conference, described Evangelista as a 22-year-old, who weighs about 218-220, is 6-foot-2 and looks, like the late Oscar Bonavena, even having a big jaw like him.
Ali, who was wearing a bright red sport shirt at the New York conference, waved a handerchief at Evangelista as if it were a bullfighter's cape and nicknamed him "El Toro."
"I don't expect an old man (35) like Ali to act this way," responded Evangelista through his translator.
Evangelista will be the second boxer representing Spain to challenge for the heavyweight championship. Paulino Uzeudun, known as "the bounding Basque," lost a decision to champion Primo Carnera in 1933.
Evangelista will receive $85,000; Ali $2.7 million.
Jimmy Young got in on the press conference act, taunting Ali by lifting his shirt, pointing to flab at his waistline, and asking, "What do you weigh, 230? When are you going to fight me again?"
Ali told the recent upsetter of George Foreman. "You fight the winner of the Ken Norton-Duane Bobick fight (on May 11 in New York City) and I'll fight that winner. I can't keep going back and fighting guys I beat, like you and Norton (against whom he won two of three by disputed decision)."