Dallas fight manager Doug Lord and trainer Curtis Cokes have charged a Kalamazoo, Mich., man with making off with their fighter.
The Washington Post also has learned that Melvin Dennis, a welter weight from Houston, ended up with only $4,000 of his $10,000 purse for competing in the ABC-sponsored U.S. Boxing Championships, which are currently suspended pending the results of an ABC investigation.
Additionally, it was learned the FBI office in Houston is conducting an investigation for a federal grand jury in Baltimaore looking into recent irregularities in boxing.
These irregularities include Houston featherweight Kenny Weldon's charge that payoff were required to compete in the tournament; junior middleweight Ike Fluellen's statement that he was given a world ranking offer being invited to compete, although he had not fought in nearly two years and the contention by heavyweight Scott LeDoux that tournament promoter Don King controlled most of the participating boxers and officials.
ABC subsequently suspended the tournament April 16. And on June 3 James A Farley Jr., an official of the tournament, resigned as chairman of the New York State Athletic Commission.
Henry Grooms is the man accused by Lord and Cokes of taking their fighter, heavyweight Bruce Grandham, to England for a fight.
Grooms denied the accusation Graham could no be reached for tournament in Kalamazoo, where he resortedly is in training. "He has no telephone where he lives," said Grooms, who added, "do you know of any grown man, 23 years old, who has been in the military, who can't go anywhere he wants?"
Cokes, who held the welterweight title for three years, said he is thinking about" going to the Justice Department. "Grooms won't let the kid come home to (to Dallas)," said Cokes.
"We (Lord and Cokes) have a contract. The kid feels indebted, because he got his air fare paid to London and he was shown a good time. But he can't fight for Grooms without paying us.
"I would be willing to let Grandham go if Grooms wants to buy his contract, but I don't want anybody to take him away from as. They are trying to find loopholes in the contract. there are four years to go on the seven-years contract. Doug Lord and I are partners; I train Graham.
Lord said Grooms offered to get Graham in the U.S. Boxing Championships.
"He asked me for money, or to be part of it (management) to get Grandham in," Lord said. "But Bruce didn't want to go." Grooms replied that he had no control over the tournament.
Lord said he told Michael Armstrong, who is investigating the tournament for ABC, about the Grandham case. Lord previously told ABC about journey featherweight Weldon's contention that he paid $2,500 to booking agent George Kanter to participate.
Grooms managed for boxders in the tournament. Nat Loubet, publisher of Ring magazine, which rated the fighters in the tournament, reported in April that the records of Grooms, four fighters had been given incorrectly.
Groom notified Loubet that the discrepancies resulted from administrative mistkes in Grooms' office.
Of Lord's and Cokes charges, Grooms said, "I am amazed that two grown men of their intelligence would do this. It's unbelievable. I would have to be running a slave ship. I would have to chai him, at 225 pounds and 6 feet, 3 inches. I had nothing to do with it.
"If an athelete, in any other sport, plays out his option that's his decision."
Of Dennis' claim that he received only $4,000 of his $10,000 purse for competing in the tournament his manager for that one time, Robert Bish, said the fighter agreed to a split of the purse.
"Dennis got $4,500, like me, after 10 per cent was taken off the top for his trainer," said Bish. "Lots of beg-name fighters have 50-50 contracts.
Bish said Dennis "left me a month ago. He wanted to get fights himself."
Asked if he could assist a reporter in reaching Dennis, Bish said, "He has no telephone."