More than 30 prizefights, including one involving former heavyweight champ George Foreman, have been fixed or tainted with fraud in the last 12 years, the Miami Herald reported Sunday. Some fighters took payments to throw fights while others took dives to avoid injury and earn a quick paycheck, the newspaper reported, citing interviews with participants in the fights.
One-time world ranked heavyweight Tony Fulilangi said he faked a second-round knockout by Foreman on Oct. 27, 1988, in Marshall, Tex. "I really hate to say this because it's not good for the sport," the newspaper quoted Fulilangi as saying. "I took a dive."
The Herald report cited sworn statements and interviews with more than 60 fighters, promoters, trainers, managers, matchmakers and commissioners. The Herald reported that Andre Smiley, a former heavyweight, said he made thousands of dollars faking 14 knockouts from 1990 to 1997. "I made a lot of money throwing fights," he said.
The newspaper said an examination of videotape of Fulilangi's 1988 fight with Foreman confirmed the boxer's claim that he fell into the ropes and then to the canvas after a Foreman punch that did not connect. "I went down just to get the money," Fulilangi said.
The Herald said Foreman laughed when told of Fulilangi's account of the fight. "That happened to me all the time," he said. "If they're getting a whuppin', it's up to them to decide if they want to continue."
Henninger Holds On
Brian Henninger, playing at the site of his only previous PGA Tour victory, withstood two early bogeys yesterday and overtook Chris DiMarco to win the rain-delayed Southern Farm Bureau Classic in Madison, Miss. Henninger began the day tied with DiMarco for the lead and won by three strokes. He closed with a 3-under-par 69 for a 14-under total of 202.
He dropped two shots in the first four holes. But he didn't have another bogey after that and took the lead for good in the 54-hole event with birdies at Nos. 13 and 14. DiMarco shot a 72 for a 205 total. Henninger earned $360,000 for the victory and DiMarco collected $216,000.
John Daly appeared set for his only top 10 finish of the season after birdies at Nos. 10 and 11 got him to 8 under. He then lost seven strokes on three holes and closed with a 76 for a three-day total of 2 under and a tie for 36th place.
Umpires Sue Umpires
On the eve of a meeting organized by umpires trying to get rid of Richie Phillips, six umpires loyal to the union leader filed a defamation suit against their colleagues trying to set up a new union.
The six umpires and Pilot Air Freight Corp., a company controlled by Phillips, accused the dissidents of falsely accusing Pilot of paying umpires to support Phillips, according to a suit filed in Delaware County Court of Common Pleas, outside Philadelphia.
"There is no truth to the defendants' charges of corruption," said the suit, which asked for "in excess of $1 million" in damages.
NL umps Jerry Crawford, Gerry Davis, Steve Rippley, Terry Tata and AL umps Drew Coble and Richie Garcia filed the suit against AL umps Joe Brinkman, John Hirschbeck, Dave Phillips and Tim Welke.
Kournikova Draws Well
Anna Kournikova didn't play a match, but the photogenic Russian still proved to be a hit at the Leipzig Open in Germany. The fifth-seeded Russian drew 1,000 spectators to her practice session at the $530,000 event even though not a single seed was in action.
In the day's only two singles matches, France's Anne-Gaelle Sidot edged Bulgaria's Magdalena Maleeva, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, and Belgium's Sabine Appelmans beat South African Joannette Kruger, 6-0, 6-4.
But the event drew more spectators for the qualifying rounds than ever, which the organizers credited to the presence of Kournikova, ranked 15th. "You can call it the Kournikova factor," event director Henner Ziegfeld said.
The 18-year-old Russian plays her first match on Wednesday. . . .
Mark Philippoussis warmed up for the Davis Cup final by defeating Frenchman Nicolas Escude, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), on the opening day of the $2.55 million Paris Open.
In another match, Spain's Francisco Clavet beat Czech Jiri Novak, 6-4, 6-1, to set up a second-round clash with Pete Sampras. Sampras, who got a bye into the second round, is making his comeback at the Paris event after a two-month absence because of injury.
Andre Agassi knows his second-round opponent will be Younes El Aynaoui after the Moroccan downed American Vincent Spadea, 6-2, 6-4. American Michael Chang earned a hard-fought 6-7 (9-7), 7-5, 6-4 victory over Thomas Johansson of Sweden. Chang faces Marcelo Rios in the second round.
New Jersey's Randy McKay was suspended for three games by the NHL for slashing Philadelphia's Ulf Samuelsson. McKay will forfeit $29,799.60 in salary.