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Indiana Commission Chairman Says He Wasn't Pressured to Remove Judge

July 21, 2002|Steve Springer

INDIANAPOLIS — Insisting he did not cave in to pressure from the World Boxing Council, William Kelsey, chairman of the Indiana Boxing Commission, said his organization's decision to remove a judge from Saturday's Vernon Forrest-Shane Mosley welterweight title fight was made at the request of the Forrest camp.

Kelsey was reacting Saturday to a letter sent to the commission Friday by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) that charged the switch was made because of a WBC threat to remove its sanction from the fight.

Kelsey conceded the WBC had asked that judge Fred Jones, an Indiana official who often works International Boxing Federation matches, be replaced with Tony Castellano, more closely identified with WBC fights.

"We told them that we were not going to submit to pressure," Kelsey said.

But, according to Kelsey, he was more responsive when a member of the Forrest camp protested on the grounds that the IBF had stripped Forrest of its welterweight title before he fought Mosley for the WBC crown in January. A spokesman for the Forrest camp confirmed the request.

When the Mosley camp had no objection to the switch, Kelsey said, the move was made Monday.

Earlier, judge Duane Ford was replaced by Jerry Roth for the fight at the request of the WBC. According to McCain, that was because Ford had worked last month's Erik Morales-Marco Antonio Barrera fight. According to Kelsey, it was because Ford had a previous commitment in Japan.

But it was the Jones-Castellano switch that caused the furor.

"By interfering with the Indiana commission's assignment of officials," wrote McCain, "the WBC has overstepped its role as a sanctioning organization and attempted to supercede the powers of a state regulatory agency. This misconduct is serious."

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