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Boxing / Richard Hoffer : Leonard-Hagler Probe Continues


An investigation by the Nevada attorney general's office into the April 6 middleweight title fight between Marvelous Marvin Hagler and Sugar Ray Leonard continues, its findings postponed well beyond the expected period of a week or so.

This investigation may not seem quite as routine as the Nevada commission would have us believe, although nobody's talking.

"We can neither confirm nor deny," said John Redlein of the attorney general's office in Las Vegas, laughing, adding that he's heard some sensational stories from the reporters calling him but has so far been unable to reciprocate.

"I've heard stories involving (a prominent gambler) and every official but the one who voted for Hagler (in the split decision)," he said. "Nobody's fingered Lou Filippo."

The stories have nothing to do with the fighters. Instead, they center on a mysterious $1-million-plus win by a Las Vegas heavy hitter who bet on Leonard and who may or may not have had contact with an official, either before or after the fight.

The rumors are fabulous and equally unsubstantiated at this point. One casino official, hearing the story of the huge takeout for example, professed surprise. "He didn't take it out of here," he said. People hear about wins like that.

Possibly it is just having a fight of such fiscal proportions, in a gaming state, coupled with a controversial decision, that fuel such rumors. It could be several weeks yet before anybody says for sure.

Don't Sugar Coat It, Kid: Noted trainer Richie Giachetti, before agreeing to work with Tony Tubbs, made sure they got off on the right foot.

"You're nothing but a joke, with nothing but a rent-a-title, which you lost, besides which, you've never beaten anybody that was any good," Giachetti said.

And then, Giachetti and Tubbs went to work.

Tubbs, whose name has often characterized his physical condition, has literally dived into training. Besides the traditional training, in preparation for a May 30 undercard fight with Wimpy Halstead, the former World Boxing Assn. heavyweight champion is working under the eye of Dr. Leroy Perry, who operates the International Sportsmedicine Institute in West Los Angeles. Tubbs can be seen daily aerobicizing, among other things, in five feet of water.

In any event, Giachetti, who worked with Larry Holmes until his retirement, reports a renewed attitude in Tubbs, in addition to shape. Tubbs, who was knocked down in a recent fight against Mike Jameson in Santa Monica--Tubbs eventually won the bout--has been alerted to the realities, Giachetti reports.

Giachetti, incidentally, is also working with former light-welterweight champion Lonnie Smith. All are operating under the managerial umbrella of Mike (not the Beach Boy) Love, new guy on the block.

What a racket: Promoter Bob Arum has not retired from boxing as he once threatened, though when he was called in Las Vegas, he was playing tennis.

In fact, between sets, he is working on a junior-middleweight title bout between WBA champion Mike McCallum and former welterweight champion Donald Curry. That would be July 18, either in Texas or Las Vegas.

Arum is also trying to set a date for a Thomas Hearns-Bobby Czyz fight. All that can get in the way of that would be Sugar Ray Leonard's decision to fight Hearns.

Arum, though, as do most in boxing, believes that the Leonard press conference for May 27 is to announce his retirement. Anyway, were Leonard to continue to box, it would make more sense and money to give Hagler the rematch.

Speaking of Leonard, Arum says the fight between Leonard and Hagler has taken in a total of $75 million, with a possibility of topping $80 million.

"It's what I hoped, though, of course, not what I said," he said. "Everybody knew what I said was a real push."

Arum said that with percentages, Hagler's take could rise to $20 million. Leonard stands on his guarantee of $11 million.

Arum also said that Leonard's widely printed contention that he "bought" three rounds--reducing it from a 15-round fight to a 12-rounder, an edge for the long inactive Leonard, in return for a lesser purse--"is complete and total BS." Arum says the money was agreed upon and then terms of the fight were negotiated.

WBA goes on probation: The Nevada State Athletic Commission has backed off a bit on its decision to blacklist the WBA, but only after the WBA made some promises.

The WBA "shocked us," said Commissioner Duane Ford, when an executive contingent arrived from Venezuela with a letter that said the organization would withdraw from apartheid South Africa and take those fighters out of their ratings.

In addition, the WBA promised to be on better behavior when assigning judges to title bouts. Previously, the organization had operated in a somewhat heavy-handed manner.

By a 3-2 vote, reached with some hard feelings, the commission agreed to extend a show of good faith to the WBA, which has until October to legislate these promises at its annual meeting.

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