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July 31, 1996|TIM KAWAKAMI

Theirs is a story full of anxiety, tricky maneuvering and screaming--and that's mostly after their departure from the Cuban Olympic boxing team a month ago.

After defecting from the Cuban training base in Guadalajara and signing with promoter Bob Arum, bantamweight Joel Casamayor and light-heavyweight Ramon Garbey have defected again: from Arum to a promotional and managerial group that includes Dino Duva's Main Events, Inc., and "Team Freedom," a company run by manager Luis DeCubas.

At a chaotic news conference Tuesday to announce the change, held by Duva and DeCubas, who has managed many Cuban defectors, Rafael Guerrero, a Dominican manager who acted as Arum's contact with the Cubans, screamed over a fence at the fighters and held up copies of signed contracts.

Tuesday, Arum's company, Top Rank, Inc., filed a $10-million suit in Nevada district court against Main Events, DeCubas, his brother Ricky DeCubas, and "Team Freedom" lawyer Leon Margules for interfering with his promotional contract.

Arum released copies of contracts dated June 26 and signed by both fighters--that promised them each a $2,000 signing bonus, $2,000 a month over a two-year span, a new car and a deluxe apartment in Las Vegas.

"When I signed with the Dominican gentleman, I was under pressure and had no idea what I was signing," said Garbey, a former amateur world champion. Casamayor won the bantamweight gold medal in 1992.

The lawsuit also implies that Garbey and Casamayor may be trying to lure other members of the Cuban team--specifically rising star Alexis Rubalcaba, a powerful super-heavyweight--to defect.

Main Events and "Team Freedom" have filed a countersuit against Top Rank.

Also Tuesday, Duva announced that Marian Leyva, an assistant coach in Cuba, who had been loaned to the Mexican national team for the Olympics, had defected to America.

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