Bernard Hopkins has spent his career doing things his way, often to the detriment of his bank account. That didn't change yesterday when Hopkins threatened to pull out of a deal with Oscar De La Hoya worth at least $15 million because he didn't like the choice of referee Joe Cortez for his fight Saturday night in Las Vegas.
"I'm adamant about my instincts," Hopkins said. "I don't want Cortez."
Hopkins first said he had booked an afternoon flight home, then said later he was chartering a private jet to take him back to Philadelphia if the referee wasn't changed. Hopkins ended up staying the night, however, while De La Hoya called Cortez personally to try to get him to step aside.
But Nevada regulators said the situation was still at an impasse pending a change of mind by Cortez.
* COLLEGES: Season ticket sales for Maryland football have surpassed 30,000 for the first time ever, the school has announced.
Bolstered by three consecutive seasons of at least 10 wins, Maryland sold 3,000 new season tickets as of May 22, signaling the fastest-ever start to the season ticket sales campaign.
"This is a milestone that we're happy to reach," said Maryland Coach Ralph Friedgen, whose team opens the season at Byrd Stadium against Northern Illinois on Sept. 4. Half of all new orders were made online. Maryland had 27,333 season ticket holders last season.
* SOCCER: Kasey Keller was picked to start in goal for the United States when the Americans open World Cup qualifying against Grenada on June 13.
Tony Meola, the starter for the U.S. team at the 1990 and 1994 World Cups, was selected by Coach Bruce Arena as the backup to Keller, the starter at the 1998 tournament.
Thirteen of the 22 players are from Major League Soccer, including United's Bobby Convey and Earnie Stewart.
* BASKETBALL: New York Knicks forward Kurt Thomas had surgery on the little finger of his right hand and is expected to be ready for training camp. Thomas's hand will be in a cast for four to six weeks.
* RUNNING: The Twin Cities Marathon in Minneapolis will open this year's race purse to all runners, reversing a decision to limit prize money to Americans.
The marathon will make its main purse of $215,000 available to all runners and will add a new $100,000 prize purse for Americans. Men's and women's winners will each get $25,000.
-- From News Services
and Staff Reports