It is more than three weeks until undefeated light heavyweight boxing champion Michael Spinks and Eddie Mustafa Muhammad meet in a title fight July 15 at the D.C. Armory, but the fighters had their prefight hype at full volume yesterday at a news conference to announce the bout.
"I've waited two years to administer this whipping to you," said Muhammad.
Muhammad (41-6, 34 knockouts) lost the World Boxing Association title to Spinks in Las Vegas on July 19, 1981. For the return bout, to be televised live on HBO cable, Spinks will receive $1 million and Muhammad $250,000, according to promoter Butch Lewis.
"I'm looking forward to fighting him again just to shut his mouth," said Spinks, who defeated Dwight Braxton March 18 in Atlantic City, N.J., to combine the WBA and World Boxing Council titles. Spinks is 23-0 with 16 knockouts.
This will be the first title fight in the District of Columbia since Joe Louis defeated Buddy Baer May 23, 1941, for the heavyweight championship at old Griffith Stadium.
"D.C. is ready for a championship fight," said Mayor Marion Barry. "I'm just fired up."
Barry, who lobbied Lewis heavily to schedule the fight here, said he has asked the city's business community to do everything it can to support the fight.
With tickets priced at $100, $50 and $25, Barry said, "This is a bargain for a championship fight."
Both fighters will begin training immediately, Muhammad at a Police Athletic League gymnasium in Jacksonville, Fla., and Spinks at Grossinger's Hotel Resort in the Catskills. They will come to Washington shortly after July 4 and continue training at the Armory, which will install special air-conditioning equipment for the fight.
"This is no ballyhoo. I do not like him and he does not like me," said Muhammad. "I say this with animosity. After every punch from Michael there is an elbow. After every clinch there is a hit on the break. There are thumbs in the eyes."
Said Spinks, "I don't have to cheat to win. I can't wait for the fight, either. I have never been knocked out and I don't plan to be knocked out in the near future. But this fight may go the distance because he is ready."