A day after announcing it had signed Ken Norton to fight Jimmy Young, who hasn't signed, Top Rank Inc., alias New York promoter Bob Arum yesterday proclaimed the signing of Earnie Shavers for a September challenge to Muhammad Ali, who hasn't signed.
Another announcement, meanwhile, is that Young will be honored at a June 6 luncheon by the Washington Tounchdown Club as "fighter of the year." That's the first time the TD Club has so cited a boxer not holding a championship. Arum says, "We confidently expect to have Jimmy Young signed by next Tuesday," and plumps Young vs. Norton as the first time each fighter in a nontitle match will be guaranteed a million-dollar purse.
Top Rank is negotiating with Ali's adviser, Herbert Muhammad, for the date with Shavers. At age 31, Shavers' record is listed as 54-51 with 29 KOs including a first-round knockout of Young in 1973 and a return-match draw in '74 against the Philadelphian who last year may have unofficially beaten Ali in Capital Centre. This year he beat George Foreman right into retirement, if Foreman holds to it.
Arum cites Las Vegas, New Orleans and New York's Madison Square Garden as sites for Young-Norton and Ali-Shavers, each in late September on live television.
That way the capital area won't have to wait until after the 11 p.m. news for the tape delay.