Pete Rose owes almost $1 million in back federal taxes, but he is making monthly payments on the debt, his representative said.

The Internal Revenue Service filed a federal tax lien in Broward County, Fla., on Tuesday alleging that baseball's career hits leader owes $973,693.28 in back taxes from 1997 to 2002.

Ross Tannenbaum, president of Dreams Inc., the marketing firm that handles Rose's business affairs, said yesterday that the lien is against a home Rose owns in California. He said the filing is not an indication the former Cincinnati Reds star and manager is in danger of returning to prison over his taxes.

Rose, 63, served a five-month sentence in 1990 and 1991 for filing false tax returns by not declaring income he received from signing autographs, memorabilia sales and gambling.

"The IRS is simply protecting its interests" in case Rose should default in the future, Tannenbaum said in an interview at his suburban Fort Lauderdale, Fla., office.

He said Rose's current income is not being attached by the government nor is Rose under any criminal investigation. Tannenbaum said the income tax returns Rose filed between 1997 and 2002 were accurate and complete, but he fell behind on his payments.

"This happens to [many] Americans; it's just news when it happens to Pete Rose," Tannenbaum said. He said Rose has paid his taxes in full since 2002 and that he is up to date with payments on his prior debt. "I know Mr. Rose makes his payments because we take them over [to the IRS] every month."

He would not say how much the payments are, nor does he believe the debt is related to gambling losses. He said Rose was traveling yesterday and was unavailable to comment.

IRS revenue officer Helen Skinner, who signed the lien notice, said yesterday she could not comment. She referred calls to spokeswoman Gloria Sutton, who did not return numerous messages.

* BOXING: Former heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe applied for an Oklahoma boxing license, clearing the way for a possible second fight in the state, a state boxing administrator said.

Bowe received preliminary approval for a license but would need to have any proposed fight approved by the commission, said Joe Miller, administrator of the Oklahoma Professional Boxing Commission.

Bowe announced Thursday that he would make his comeback after a seven-year layoff with a fight Sept. 25 against low-ranking veteran Jeff Lally at an arena near the Citizen Potawatomi Nation's FireLake Casino.

Bowe (40-1, 32 KOs) does not need an Oklahoma boxing license for the fight on tribal land. Instead, he was licensed to fight by the tribe's boxing commission following an MRI exam and neurological tests by a doctor at Midwest City Regional Hospital.

"I was very skeptical when I first heard about it because I was like everybody else," Miller said. "I heard all these things: that Riddick Bowe was walking on his heels, Riddick Bowe's got brain problems."

-- From News Services