James L. Denson, the promoter of last Saturday's ill-fated boxing card at the D.C. Armory, said yesterday he expects he will have to make refunds on nearly all of the tickets sold.

"I was very surprised at the number of people who showed up yesterday wanting refunds," Denson said. "It looks like we're going to have to refund close to 100 percent of them.

"And all refunds either have been or will be made," he added in reference to complaints from "several people" who showed up at the Armory on Tuesday and yesterday and were not given refunds.

Denson explained that people who bought tickets through Ticketron or Warner Theater (Charge-a-Card) will have to get their refunds there. Only people who bought tickets at the Armory can get refunds there, he said.

On Saturday Denson estimated there were 1,000 persons -- a count reporters challenged as being inflated -- at what was to have been the World Boxing Association lightweight championship.

But defending champion Ernesto Espana pulled out before the bout, saying he had not received $60,000 of his $70,000 purse. Two other fights were cancelled, one on another purse dispute.

In the main attraction of the card, former Dallas Cowboy Ed (Too Tall) Jones took 41 seconds to dispose of his opponent on a technical knockout.

So Denson decided refunds were in order. They will be made on Friday between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.

It was still unclear yesterday how many people attended the fight, but Denson figures losses were at $100,000 and that he personally was out between $50,000 and $75,000.

"It's bad, but it's the nature of the business," said Denson, who is president of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce and head of his own promotional firm.

Asked what he thought the major factor was for the unsuccessful venture, Denson replied, "The lack of media coverage. I got plenty of ink after the fight but not very much before and most of that was negative."

He also complained that the media failed to note that, under a city law, he was prohibited from paying the fighters' total purses until after the fights and then in the presence of the D.C. Boxing Commission.

However, it was agreed upon in the contract that Denson was to give the purse money for the title fight to a WBA representative 48 hours prior to the fight. He did not do this.

Denson said he would continue to try to arrange professional bouts here and is considering one for February.