Jose Sulaiman, president of the World Boxing Council, said today that champion Roberto Duran's beard -- a major point of concern in the Sugar Ray Leonard camp -- will be trimmed before Tuesday night's WBC welterweight championship rematch.
That decision obviously pleased Angelo Dundee, Leonard's handler, who has launched a major verbal offensive here concerning Duran's alleged illegal and dirty tactics during the June 20 bout in Montreal.
Sulaiman said Duran would be permitted to wear a half-inch beard and it would be measured at the weigh-in on Tuesday.
Dundee said he was "very satisfied that Sulaiman insisted that Duran trim his beard. It is not a clean image for boxing; it is not sanitary in case one of the fighters is cut."
Dundee was asked if he would be as vocal as he was in the first bout about the officiating in the ring. "I'll do whatever is possible to inform anybody when Duran commits a foul," Dundee said, "and Duran commits all of them."
Eyebrows were raised today when Sulaiman was seen eating at the same table at media headquarters with Ray Arcel, trainer for Duran. But there were sportswriters present, too.
Besides, it was learned later that Arcel and Dundee previously met privately with Sulaiman and agreed that the bout would not be refereed by Carlos Padilla, who worked the fight in Montreal.
It was pretty much of an open secret today that Octavio Mayeran of Mexico would be the referee on Tuesday, though Sulaiman announced today at an open rules committee meeting that eight WBC officials were being flown in from Europe and the Orient. Sulaiman defended Padilla's officiating in Montreal.
Mayeran refereed the recent middleweight title bout in London between Vito Antuofermo and Alan Minter, when the latter won the title.
Promoter Don King reportedly sold the taping rights to Tuesday's bout to the ABC network for $500,000 to be shown on Friday night, Dec. 19.