Mike Trainer, attorney for Sugar Ray Leonard, said yesterday that the former welterweight champion definitely will fight this fall, but probably will not meet Roberto Duran for the World Boxing Council title.
"The fight is not on," Trainer insisted, despite an assertion last weekend by promoter Don King that it was, except for King sitting down with Trainer and talking. "I don't think the bout can take place in November, even if King got the money. There's too many complications, unless there is a meeting of minds between the group I got to back the fight, and King.
"Ray is going to fight in the fall," Trainer said. "I won't rule out it being a title bout, either. It may be in the junior middleweight division, against Maurice Hope of England, the WBC champion or Ayub Kalule of Denmark, the World Boxing Association champion.
"We're starting from scratch again (on the Duran fight). It was very simple in the beginning. We had a deal ready and King turned it down. Now he has no date and no site. There is a lot to do. He says he has the money; I don't know. I introduced the group to King last week and they talked.
"I'm not going to give the promotional information that the group worked up to King. I don't think the bout is feasible because there are too many complications at the moment." Trainer identified the head of the group as Shelley Finkle of New York City, whose Championship Events Inc. promoted a bout between former champions Joe Frazier and George Foreman.
Trainer predicted that Wilfred Benitez, former WBC welterweight title holder, will get the first shot at undefeated Tommy Hearns, the new Wba welterweight champion, in January. Trainer said Hearns wants to fight Leonard, "because he thinks he's a killer, but his management doesn't want Leonard until Hearns gets himself more established in the public eye. Hearns would fight Duran, but Duran himself wants a Leonard bout."