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Garcia Turns Down a Heavyweight Offer : Boxing: He won't face Foreman. Arum says fighter claims he isn't ready; Garcia's trainer says $500,000 isn't enough.

June 06, 1991|RICH TOSCHES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Heavyweight Alex Garcia of San Fernando, whose purses have averaged about $6,000 a fight in his pro career, has turned down an offer of $500,000 to fight George Foreman, according to promoter Bob Arum and Garcia's trainer.

"Alex told me (last week) he wasn't ready for a guy like George Foreman," Arum said Wednesday. "He said he didn't want to go into a fight that he felt he didn't have a chance to win. Even with that incredible amount of money we offered. To be honest, I've never heard of such a thing."

Garcia could not be reached for comment. His trainer, Hershel Jacobs, said Garcia does not have a telephone in his rented house.

"They offered some money," Jacobs added, "but it wasn't enough. They got up around $500,000. Alex wants a million dollars to do this. Alex would knock George out. No doubt about it. He'd knock George Foreman out in two or three rounds. That's a fact.

"But against George, there is the possibility that Alex could lose. That is a possibility. The odds would be in George's favor. We don't want to put him in there with George Foreman and get Alex hurt or knocked out or beat for nothing."

Garcia, 27, is 20-1, and recorded his 16th knockout on May 23 when he stopped Rocky Sekorski of St. Paul, Minn., in the first round of a scheduled 10-round bout in Las Vegas. Sekorski was knocked out in the fourth round by Foreman two years ago.

Interviewed in the ring after the Sekorski fight, Garcia told ESPN's Al Bernstein: "Right now, I don't know if I want to fight Foreman. If everything's right and the timing is right, then maybe."

Maybe not.

"Alex turned it down on the basis that he wasn't ready to fight George Foreman," Arum said. "Money wasn't an issue, or timing. The fight would have been held in September. He just didn't want George Foreman."

Jacobs said negotiations are continuing.

Arum said the negotiations are over.

"It's dead," Arum said. "If Alex doesn't want to fight the guy, we don't want to present that fight to the public. We won't go back to him now. I just never heard of such a thing."

Foreman, 42, lost a unanimous 12-round decision to heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield on April 19.

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