Boxing, everyone? Or was four hours of it on Monday enough for awhile?
Well, promoter Bob Arum said yesterday in Knoxville, Tenn., that there will be a "super spectacular" show May 16 and Sugar Ray Leonard will be the big attraction.
Mike Trainer, attorney for Leonard, said he is considering a "positive" area for a prime-time television bout for the World Boxing Council welterweight champion -- the Southwest.
"It may be Dallas or Houston, some place that has a large Latin community," Trainer said, explaining they would be "positive" sites to fight Jose (Pipino) Cuevas of Mexico, the World Boxing Association champion; Wilfred Benitez of Puerto Rico, former WBC champion; or Roberto Duran of Panama, former WBC lightweight champion.
"Those cities would be close enough to Mexico and California."
Trainer confirmed Arum's statement that new WBA light heavyweight champion Eddie Gregory probably will be on the card, plus another title fight, likely between middleweights. But Leonard would have the prime-time slot and choose the site.
Trainer made a peaceful gesture toward Duran, saying that if he would agree to terms with Leonard it could be put off until September, because May would be too soon to get ready. But Duran would not have to stay inactive until the autumn, because he would be offered a warmup bout on the show at an attractive fee if he wanted it.
Trainer said that if Duran and Leonard agree to a WBC title fight it will have to go on by itself, on closed circuit television, because no conventional television network could afford it. Trainer asserted that Ali is the only other attraction worthy of a closed circuit television fee, and would have to have a more appealing opponent than new WBA heavyweight champion Mike Weaver.
WBC heavyweight champion Larry Holmes challenged Ali yesterday through promoter Don King, who said he had $10 million to stage such a promotion.
But rival promoter Arum said earlier in the day that he has Ali under contract for his next bout, if any, and has an option on Weaver's next three bouts. Weaver's manager confirmed that.
Arum said the scheduled announcement today of an Ali-John Tate bout was put off because Tate lost his WBA title to Weaver, but that he was going ahead with plans for Ali-Weaver in the summer, with New Orleans the primary site.
Trainer admitted some problems with a Leonard-Duran fight. "We're having difficulty with Duran because Don King is frustrated. He can't make the match but still won't let Duran fight without him. He is reluctant to step aside; he has promised a great deal of money to Duran.
"We're willing to honor WBC regulations. We won't have a WBC title fight until it's Duran.
"I've never received a directive from the WBC about what to do, though I've written letters to the WBC. If we fought Cuevas for his WBA title we can't violate any WBC order, because we've never received any, and the WBC would have no say about a WBA title bout.
"We won't ask Joe Sulaiman (president of the WBC) for sanction; it wouldn't be a unification bout if and when he tells Duran he can't force a promoter (King) on Leonard.
"The threat of Leonard fighting WBA champion Cuevas could have the WBC pressuring King to get out of the way. We're going to fight someone, and there's a good chance it is going to be Cuevas or Benitez, or Tommy Hearns."
In another development, the Maryland Boxing Commission suspended David Green of England at least 60 days, "because it was such a hell of a knockout punch by Leonard" in Capital Centre Monday night. Jack Cohen, executive secretary of the commission, said a boxer routinely is suspended for 30 days after being knocked out. "We had to take extra precaution," Cohen said. Green was unconscious for several minutes.
Arum said he expects to announce an Ali-Weaver bout next week, but some who have talked to Arum drew the inference that Ali may have a change of heart since Weaver won, because Ali was so sure he could beat Tate.
Tate's manager was asked in Weaver's presence for his opinion about who is the best heavyweight. He said Holmes.
Surprisingly, Weaver said, "I think Holmes is the best; if he wants to say he's the best, he can, because he's a champion, but I want to fight him again." Holmes knocked out Weaver in June.
Arum insisted, "Weaver is the best. He'll fight Ali and then Holmes in September or October and show he's the best."
Holmes had signed to fight Tate then, but that was before Tate was upset by Weaver.