Boxing / Earl Gustkey : Hull in Trouble Again; Now He Might Get Sued

Col. Don Hull, formerly president of both the International Amateur Boxing Assn. (AIBA) and the USA Amateur Boxing Federation (USA/ABF), is on the hot seat again.

Already in hot water with the new administration of amateur boxing's worldwide governing body, AIBA, over alleged missing funds, Hull now is close to being dragged into a lawsuit involving Todd Foster, 1988 U.S. Olympic boxer.

Hull, who was executive director of the Amateur Athletic Union in the 1960s when the AAU was at war with the National Collegiate Athletic Assn. for control of amateur athletics, was president of AIBA from 1978 to 1986, then served 4 years as president of the USA/ABF, 1984-1988.

Last summer, the new AIBA president, Anwar Chowdhry of Pakistan, and an AIBA vice president, Karl Heinz-Wehr of East Germany, accused Hull of withholding AIBA money from the new administration.

Hull denied it, emphatically. But relations grew so tense that Chowdhry refused to issue an Olympic credential to Hull, preventing him from attending the boxing tournament at the Seoul Games.

So Hull, 75, stayed home in Cresskill, N.J. He said at the time he could have successfully forced the issue over his credential, but that he was staying home on doctor's orders.

During the Olympics, Chowdhry said that unless Hull returned the alleged missing money, AIBA would sue for it. He also said that would not happen until Hull's term as USA/ABF president expired, which was last October.

"We want to maintain our otherwise good relations with the U.S. federation, so we will not proceed legally until he has left office," Chowdhry said in Seoul.

No suit has yet been filed.

According to Chowdhry, the money in question was paid to AIBA's office, which was in Hull's home, by ABC, from the network's telecasts of U.S. amateur boxing shows during Hull's administration.

The amount, Chowdhry said in Seoul, "May be in excess of $1 million."

Now, on top of all that, comes the Foster case.

In September, 1987, Foster signed a sponsorship agreement with pro manager-trainer Lou Duva.

Foster, a light-welterweight from Great Falls, Mont., needed someone to sponsor his amateur career. He was a world-class amateur at the time, having won a silver medal at the Pan American Games. But he needed big-city sparring partners to prepare for the Olympics.

Both AIBA and the USA/ABF allow pro managers to sponsor--pay expense money--amateurs, up to $300 a month. Foster and Duva signed an agreement to that effect, and Foster moved to Houston to train under Kenny Weldon.

Foster, who turned pro this week under his new manager, Bob Spagnola of Houston, made the Olympic team but didn't win a medal in Seoul.

Shortly after the Olympics, Foster told Duva he was turning pro with Spagnola. Weldon switched, too.

In November, Duva filed suit in U.S. District Court in Newark, N.J.

Duva's son, Dan, president of the family's New Jersey boxing business, Main Events, Inc., said this week that if Foster repaid the $50,000 Lou Duva says he invested in Foster, that would likely conclude the matter.

Spagnola claims that the Duvas jeopardized Foster's eligibility to compete in the Olympics by "coercing" him into signing a pro contract in the summer of 1987. The Duvas say that Hull not only approved the contract, but signed it.

Spagnola says Hull signed something else--a contract stipulating that when or if Foster turned pro, Duva would be his manager. That isn't covered in the rule book.

It has also been learned that if Hull did, indeed, sign such a document, he didn't take it through normal channels.

Said one USA/ABF board member, who asked not to be identified: "If any document like that had been put on the table at a board meeting, I'd have said, 'Whoa! No way.' "

Hull denies having signed a pro manager's contract with Duva and Foster.

"We put out the word a few years ago to pro boxing people, telling them what they could and could not do in the sponsorship area," Hull said.

"Lou Duva came to me and we went over all the rules. He said he was willing to do everything by the book. But he also said he wanted protection. He said if he sponsored Foster, he wanted to be sure Foster stayed with him when he turned pro.

"So he brought me a document written by his lawyer that said that. That's what I signed. It wasn't a manager's contract."

Hull said that Foster's father, Vern Foster, also had signed the contract.

"Todd's father never should have allowed Todd to leave Duva," Hull said. "You can't blame a 21-year-old for getting confused and doing something wrong, but his father . . . he shouldn't have let Todd do it."

Boxing Notes

The comebacks of Ruben Castillo and Hector Lopez, plus the North American Boxing Federation welterweight title bout between Luis Santana and Derrick Kelly, highlight Monday night's show at the Forum. . . . Heavyweights Mike Hunter and Donnie Coats headline Tuesday night's card at the Irvine Marriott. Hunter is filling in for flu-decked Mark Wills. . . . On the same night, Mike Weaver and his triplet brothers--Floyd, Lloyd and Troy--are all on the same card at the Country Club in Reseda.

Speaking of comebacks, Michael Dokes, who has a date with Evander Holyfield March 11 at Caesars Palace, is in training at Big Oaks Lodge, in a country canyon near Saugus. . . . Leonard-Hearns II will be announced officially Tuesday in New York. . . . NBC will show Robert Hines and Darrin Van Horn Feb. 5. This one will show just how good the unbeaten Van Horn is, because Hines is a very good fighter. He upset Matthew Hilton in November. . . . Brooklyn heavyweight Alex Stewart will try to break the record of 19 consecutive knockouts at the start of a career when he meets an opponent to be named Feb. 18 in the first pro boxing show in Budapest, Hungary. Stewart shares the record with Mike Tyson.

Ray Mancini, preparing for his bout with Hector Camacho in Reno March 6, is training in public workouts at the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas daily, except Wednesday and Sunday, from 4-6 p.m. . . . Percy Price, one of the few men to defeat Muhammad Ali, died recently in Jacksonville, N.C., at 52. Price defeated Ali at the 1960 U.S. Olympic trials when both were heavyweights. Ali, then known as Cassius Clay, then dropped down to light-heavyweight, made the 1960 team and won a gold medal at the Rome Games. Price never turned pro, instead serving in the U.S. Marine Corps for 21 years. Ali didn't lose again until Joe Frazier beat him in 1971.

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