Denzil Skinner, whose New Orleans firm operates the Superdome, bid $4 million last night for the rights to the live gate for the Sugar Ray Leonard-Roberto Duran title fight June 20.
Skinner met at a Washington area hotel with Mike Trainer, attorney for Leonard, and two prospective investors in the live promotion.
Skinner said nearly $8 million would be needed from all sources of revenue to cover the fighters' purses and other promotional expenses. He said Leonard probably will receive nearly $5 million and Duran about $2.25 million.
Leonard has the rights to the live gate. Bob Arum of Top Rank Inc. will have the closed-circuit telecast rights.
Skinner pointed out that the live gate would have to bring $4 million to make the whole promotion financially feasible.
He was involved promoting Muhammad Ali's recapture of the heavy-weight title from Leon Spinks in New Orleans Sept. 15, 1978, and cited it as setting a record live gate of $5.2 million from attendance of 61,000.
Skinner had bid on a heavyweight title bout between World Boxing Association champion Mike Weaver and Ali, before Ali switched this week to a bout against WBC champion Larry Holmes.
Skinner said Ali would have earned about $5.25 million for fighting Weaver, and Weaver under $2 million, "so Leonard-Duran will cost nearly as much as that bout would have."
Skiner said that neither Arum nor Duran's manager attended last night's negotiations because terms for the fighters already are set.
In that connection, Top Rank announced yesterday a news conference for Wednesday in New York City.
Las Vegas, Houston, Dallas and Montreal also have been mentioned as possible sites of the bout. Leonard has the right to select the site.
However, Skinner noted that "no normal size arena, or Las Vegas, would be feasible because of the enormous live gate needed."
He had been offered the bout between Leonard and WBA champion Jose Cuevas before it fell through and said Leonard would have received about $2.5 million and Cuevas $1 million to $1.5 million.
"New Orleans has proved it has the greatest facility for a fight, with the Ali-Spinks bout," Skinner said. "It is a city everyone likes to visit."
Skinner wouldn't be surprised if the Ali-Holmes bout came up again for bids.
"I think it is too late now to put on by July 11, he said. "I think that story of it going to Rio de Janerio at the figures speculated $6.5 million for Ali and $3 million to $5 million for Holmes) is a pipe dream.
"If Holmes would accept under $2.5 million and Ali under $5 million, it would be 'do-able.' Otherwise the promotion would have to bring in about $14 million and I don't think the numbers (customers) are there. It would have to be on closed circuit television in any case.
"We had a financial package and a commitment for Ali-Weaver, but Ali's people got talked out of it by a friend.
"If they can get those Rio de Janerio figures, they should take a letter of credit and run to the bank. I don't think they will. I'd be interested at terms like those for Ali-Weaver.