Mitt Barnes, whom Top Rank, Inc., tried to help Leon Spinks shed as manager several weeks before the upset in Las Vegas, says he now has turned down a $1.5 million offer from the Bob Arum promotional firm to get lost.
"I'm still his manager," declared Barnes. "I told Top Rank, 'I don't want your money.' If I have to, I'll eliminate my 30 per cent just to stay with him."
Barnes, business agent for Teamsters Local 600 in St. Louis, indicated before Spinks dethroned heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali last week that he had a contract to handle eight more Spinks bouts for $50,000 per, but that he might sever his ties "if I get my price."
Now Barnes says, "I could take $3 million and live like a king. But I don't want that . . . I would just love to sit down with Leon and we'd have this settled in a half-hour. Leon has never told me he didn't want me to be his manager anymore. His wife did, but not Leon."
After all, Barnes noted, this is the Leon Spinks he took under his wing in the basement of the Railroad YMCA Hotel in St. Louis, where he trained in his formative years. "I was responsible for him like a father," Barnes said. He and my son, Pee Wee, always bummed together . . . I would give my son spending money, and I would give Leon the same thing . . .
"The only way they'll get Leon is the Supreme Court" . . .