A source in the Internal Revenue Service confirmed today that the agency is looking into the financial deal between promoter Don King and former welterweight champion Roberto Duran.
"Oftentimes, there have been cases where people have tried to hide the amount of income they will earn by various means," an IRS source said. "We are not specifically saying whether that's the case here, but we are concerned enough to look into it."
The Washington Post reported today that the IRS was concerned about $3 million that was to be paid by the promoter to a corporation in panama. Duran and his manager, Carlos Eleta, denied that the money was to be routed through a company, maintaining it was to be paid directly to be fighter's Panamanian account. The IRS also had requested a copy of Duran's contract from the Louisiana State Athletic Commission.
Duran was to have been paid $10 million for the fight; $7 million from the Louisiana State Athletic Commission and $3million from closed-circuit television. Leonard earned $7 million for his evenings work.
King was asked today if he were concerned about an IRS investigation of his dealings with Duran.
"I don't know anything about the IRS," he said. "I think it's a necessary body of the government. I have no qualms or problems about paying my taxes.That's part of the American way of life."
Meanwhile, it was announced that 25,038 spectators attended the fight Tuesday night in the Superdome, for fewer than the original estimate of 40,000.
The crowd produced a live gate of $3 million, far short of the $8.5 million a sellout would have assured. All 1,200 seats priced at $1,000 each were sold and 90 percent of the $500 seats were sold, according to a spokesman for the promoter, Alan Taylor. Taylor said that no figures were yet available for the closed-circuit television profit from 345 outlets arount the country. If all 1.7 million seats had been sold, the promotion would have netted $38 million.
"The closed circuit was slower than the last fight." Taylor said. "If we got 65 to 70 percent of capacity we would break even. It's going to be close. gThe live gate was very disappointing. We thought we'd do better."
Tayor said it may be several weeks before the total closed-cirucit gate can be counted.