Simon Brown's International Boxing Federation welterweight title will in all likelihood be at stake March 18 in Las Vegas when he takes on Maurice Blocker, the World Boxing Council welterweight champion. Brown and Blocker are good friends and neighbors in Germantown.
Doubts arose that the IBF title as well as the WBC title would be at stake when the IBF's championship committee expressed a preference that Brown make his mandatory defense against the IBF's top contender, Glenwood Brown. But Bob Lee, IBF president, said yesterday that he intended to "come to terms" with the IBF committee and that he wanted Brown-Blocker sanctioned as a title fight.
"Brown has been in touch with me," Lee said. "He said that he can make a lot of money fighting Blocker and has asked for an extension. We said that's fine, as long as he fights Glenwood Brown within 120 days of the Blocker fight, provided Simon wins. He said he wanted to defend against Glenwood Brown."
Lee praised Simon Brown for being a fighting champion, citing his seven title defenses since winning the IBF championship in April 1988. "This guy has been a good champion," Lee said. "He's a decent individual. He's been a good representative of boxing. . . . How do we turn our backs on him?"
With potentially two titles on the line next month, the Brown-Blocker winner could then meet the new World Boxing Association welterweight champion, Meldrick Taylor, in a complete unification bout. The Brown-Blocker winner also would have a WBC mandatory defense against Buddy McGirt.
Brown also wants to fight Sugar Ray Leonard, who will meet Terry Norris next Saturday night in New York. Leonard, however, has given no indication that he'd fight Brown.
While Brown appears on the verge of becoming better known and a dominant force among the welterweights, he is taking a major risk in fighting Blocker, a number of boxing observers have noted. Some believe that Blocker, a wily boxer who is taller and has a reach advantage over Brown, could go the 12-round distance against the harder hitter and take the decision.
Blocker, who grew up in Washington with Brown, has said, "I know Simon better than any fighter." And Brown's adviser, James Cooks, conceded yesterday that, unlike other fighters, Blocker does not "fear" Brown.
But Cooks added: "Just like Maurice knows Simon, Simon knows Maurice better than anybody else. When Maurice feels the eight-ounce gloves -- Simon's gloves -- he'll know why Simon is number one."
Cooks said that Brown will not take Blocker lightly. "A wise man stopped by to tell us that the worst thing we could do is be overconfident," Cooks said.
Brown-Blocker is on the Mike Tyson-Razor Ruddock card at The Mirage in Las Vegas.
Ticket Sales Reportedly Up
Mike Trainer, Leonard's lawyer, said yesterday that 4,000 tickets had been sold for Leonard-Norris at Madison Square Garden, contrary to reports that ticket sales had not reached 2,000. The fight, Leonard's first in 14 months, will be televised by Showtime. Trainer said that Leonard will make "between four and six million." . . .
Iowa legislative leaders said Friday they have cleared the way for middleweight champion Michael Nunn to defend his IBF title, tentatively set for May 10 between Nunn, a Davenport native, and challenger Steven Collins of Ireland. Legislators reached an agreement with University of Iowa officials to make the school's Carver-Hawkeye Arena available. University officials have resisted making school facilities available to outside promoters, especially for boxing matches.