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BOXING : Long Beach's Williams Defends Title


LAS VEGAS — One heavyweight compares himself to Muhammad Ali. The other used to be compared to Mike Tyson. And the winner might find himself fighting Riddick Bowe.

In a rare match-up of young, undefeated heavyweights, Larry Donald of Cincinnati and Jeremy Williams of Long Beach will box here today at the MGM Grand.

The bout will be televised by ABC--the first network boxing broadcast this year--and is for Williams' World Boxing Council Continental Americas title. But there might be much more at stake.

Donald, who has a 12-0 record with 10 knockouts, has already decided what his destiny is in the heavyweight division.

"I feel I am the greatest thing since Muhammad Ali," he has said.

The 21-year-old Williams, 15-0 with 12 knockouts, is managed by Bill Cayton, Tyson's former manager, and until this year was trained by Kevin Rooney, Tyson's former trainer. ABC latched onto Tyson early in his career, televising a series of his fights, and is believed to be similarly interested in Williams, who is now being trained by his father, Charles.

"Muhammad Ali is great to emulate, but you've got to try to be yourself first," Jeremy Williams said, with Donald sitting four feet away.

Williams and Donald traveled together on amateur tours back when Williams was a 175-pound light-heavyweight. The 6-foot-2 Williams weighed in at 210 pounds. Donald, a member of the 1992 U.S. Olympic team, is 6-3 1/2 and will fight at 227.

Although Williams has struggled at times against veteran fighters, he has scored eight of his 12 knockouts in the second round or earlier. One of Williams' most impressive victories was a second-round technical knockout of 1992 Olympic medalist Danell Nicholson in an earlier match-up of young, undefeated heavyweights.

"There aren't any more big names out there, as far as young fighters, that I could fight and make a name for myself," said Williams, whose older brother, Jason, is fighting on the undercard.

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