PENSACOLA, FLA. -- The managers of a former Olympic boxing hero and the Florida Athletic Commission have called it a draw in their dispute over who was to blame for an impostor fight last July.
Square Ring Inc., which manages Roy Jones Jr., and Don Hazelton, the commission's executive director, held a news conference Thursday to announce that they had decided to let it pass and that the commission would sanction Jones's next bout Jan. 31.
The fight in Pensacola, Jones's hometown, will be televised by USA Network, but Jones's opponent will not be announced until next Tuesday, said Fred Levin, a Pensacola lawyer and partner in Square Ring.
"We both sat down and realized all of us were trying to do the right thing," Levin said.
Jones, a junior middleweight, is 10-0 as a professional and working toward a title match after a controversial end to his amateur career in the 1988 Seoul Olympics. While many ringside observers felt he had easily won the 156-pound gold medal match, the judges gave the fight to his opponent, a South Korean boxer.
Jones had to settle for a silver medal but the controversy over the fight and his stoic reaction made him a hero back home.
In the imposter controversy last year, Hazelton had accused Square Ring of failing to make sure a boxer who entered the ring with him July 14 was the man he said he was.
Representatives of Square Ring blamed the commission for failing to verify the identity of the fighter who claimed he was Derwin Richards, an experienced boxer from Houston.
Jones knocked him out in the first round, but a subsequent investigation revealed the fighter actually was Tony Waddles of Norman, Okla.
"I don't think the young man from Pensacola needs any more distractions," Hazelton said. "Things were said that probably shouldn't have been said."
Waddles cooperated with authorities, while his manager, Elvis Belt of Oklahoma City, and matchmaker Gerome Peete of Memphis, were charged with fraud. They have not yet been tried.
The sparring between Square Ring and the commission resulted in the management company, Jones and other fighters in his camp turning in their state licenses as a protest. They reapplied for the licenses Thursday.
Jones, however, fought without the commission's sanction in November, knocking out Rollin "Chiller" Williams in Pensacola.
Square Ring used a clause in the state's boxing law that permits fights sponsored by national veterans organizations to be held without the commission's approval. An American Legion post sponsored the fight to raise money for a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Pensacola.
The commission, contending the veterans' clause applied only to amatuer bouts, challenged the fight in court but a Pensacola judge ruled in favor of the Legion post and Square Ring.
An appeal is pending before the 1st District Court of Appeal in Tallahassee but will be withdrawn as a result of the settlement, Levin said.