Picture, Sugar Ray Leonard preps for Tuesday's rematch with Roberto Duran in the Superdome. UPI
Jose Sulaiman, president of the World Boxing council, characterized Octavio Mayeran of Mexico today as a strong contender for the referee assignment on Tuesday night when Sugar Ray Leonard will try to win back the welterweight title from Roberto Duran in the Superdome.
Sulaiman also said that Carlos Padilla is also under consideration. Angelo Dundee said later, in Leonard's behalf, that Padilla would not be acceptable.
Padilla was the third man in the ring June 20 in Montreal when Duran used roughhouse tactics and was voted a unanimous decision in taking away Leonard's title.
Dundee said, "There is no way we will agree to Padilla, and I will make that clear at the rules meeting on Monday."
Sulaiman said there will be no officials from the United States or Panama, Duran's country, but there may be some from South America.
Padilla, a native of the Philippines, makes his home in Las Vegas.
Leonard said after his final workout today, "I never made a complaint. I never squawked about the referee after the last bout.
"I'm not concerned about the referee or the judges this time; I'm just concerned about me. I feel stronger for this bout. I feel I am very nearly guaranteed the title.
"Duran can't change his style with me; he's got to come to me. He knows that if he stays back and tries to box, that's good for me."
Duran declined to appear at a news conference after sparring for two rounds with fellow Panamanian Simon Smith, rocking him with left hooks to the body and right chops to the jaw.
Luis Henriquez, Duran's trainer and translator, said, "We never complained about the referee. Leonard did all the holding the last time. We're satisfied with the WBC regulations."
He agreed, in effect, that Duran will not change his style. "He has never lost a title bout fighting the way he does," Henriquez said. "Why should he change now?"
Leonard was sharp as he boxed two rounds with amateur Gary Gibson of Washington, D.C. Leonard sparred in a manner to confuse Duran's people if any of them were watching. He would assume the role of counterpuncher for half a round, then switch to carrying the fight to gibson.
Spectators were surprised when Leonard let Gibson back him into the ropes, as Duran did to him in Montreal. But, after allowing Gibson to take some shots at him and slipping them, Leonard pinned Gibson against the ropess and unloaded a savage 1-2 combination while Gibson held Leonard by the back of the neck in the manner of Duran.