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BOXING / EARL GUSTKEY : Chavez-Norris Bout a Promoter’s Dream

The fight of the decade is what they’re calling it, even before a contract has been written, even before anyone has agreed to anything and even before the decade is one-quarter through.

Julio Cesar Chavez vs. Terry Norris.

“What we want to do is match Terry with Chavez in San Diego Stadium next September, on Mexican Independence Day (Sept. 16),” said Dan Goossen, Norris’ promoter.

“We feel that fight would draw 70,000 people, and it would be the biggest pay-per-view audience ever. What were the biggest fights of the ‘80s? Leonard and Hagler? Tyson and Spinks? We think Chavez-Norris would top everything, and that both fighters would earn $10 million-plus each.”

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Then Goossen adds the big if.

“This is all assuming they both keep winning, of course.”

There are many big fights and many victories to be won before such a fight would occur. But it’s not illegal for promoters to dream.

For Chavez-Norris to become reality, Norris must beat Simon Brown at Caesars Palace tonight, and then beat either Buddy McGirt or, possibly, the winner of the Julian Jackson-James Toney bout.

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And Chavez has a date with Greg Haugen for a bout that many believe will be surprisingly difficult. Then there’s a talked-about Chavez-Meldrick Taylor II, and even a Chavez-Pernell Whitaker proposal.

Chavez’s promoter, Don King, won’t talk much publicly about a fight with Norris, because Brown, Norris’ opponent tonight, is King’s man. But Goossen says he has spoken with King about it.

“Over a year ago, King was talking about Chavez coming up in weight to fight Sugar Ray Leonard, who would come down in weight,” Goossen said. “If he and Chavez were willing to do that, then they have to be interested in Chavez-Norris.

“I’ve talked to Don about it, and believe me, he’s interested. He has to be.”

They would have to agree on the critical question of weight. Chavez is the champion at 140 pounds, Norris at 154. Chavez, most everyone figures, could fight effectively around 145 pounds. And Norris is not a true light-middleweight. He has never weighed 154 for any of his eight title fights.

He weighed 152 pounds the night he beat Sugar Ray Leonard, and 149 last May 9, when he beat Taylor.

So if they ever pull this off, look for a contracted weight of about 150 pounds.

And for what championship would they fight?

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Would anyone care?

Dio Colome’s lawsuit against the State of California is under way in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Colome was a headline fighter at the Forum in 1988, until he flunked the controversial, state-required neurological exam. He sued the state, claiming the exam prematurely ended his boxing career and cost him thousands of dollars in lost purses.

It’s expected to be a three-week trial, but already Colome’s attorney, Carl Douglas, seems to have presented evidence that the State Athletic Commission, at least in Colome’s case, mismanaged the exam program.

Testimony so far has shown that the exam administrator who failed Colome was not a neurologist, as required by state law. Further, Douglas has pointed out that Colome was a second-grade dropout in his native Dominican Republic.

The test administrator who flunked Colome, Armando Morales, is a professor of social work at UCLA. He testified that the state neurological exam “assumes an eighth-grade education.”

Colome is seeking $1 million in special damages--lost boxing purses--and pain and suffering related to emotional distress and lost earning capacity.

Boxing Notes

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On Tuesday night at the Reseda Country Club, the Los Angeles Police Department, the mayor’s office, Los Angeles County and the state of California will honor former boxer Randy Shields, just before the Gabriel Ruelas-Gilberto Flores main event. Shields, a bodyguard who is licensed to carry a gun, took on three armed men in a restaurant Sept. 20 and wounded two of them. All three were later arrested.

North Hollywood heavyweight Alex Garcia, in the most impressive performance of his six-year career, looked very much ready for bigger game when he stopped 6-foot-10 Mike White in two rounds at El Paso the other night. Said his manager, Norm Kaplan: “Alex (26-1) is ready to step up now. There’ll be a big shake-out in the heavyweight division after the Razor Ruddock-Lennox Lewis and (Evander) Holyfield-(Riddick) Bowe fights (Oct. 19 and Nov. 13, respectively). We think we can get Tommy Morrison, George Foreman or Tony Tucker.”

Holyfield is offering the following to whomever returns the boxing trunks he wore in his fight with Larry Holmes June 19: Two ringside tickets to Holyfield-Bowe, a pair of autographed boxing gloves and a substitute pair of trunks. A trunk containing Holyfield’s gear never made it from Las Vegas to his Atlanta home. . . . Muhammad Ali spent most of this week at a hospital at Hilton Head Island, S.C., receiving treatment for Parkinson’s Syndrome. . . . Guess who starts drawing Social Security Nov. 13? Art Aragon, 64, the one-time “Golden Boy” of Los Angeles boxing. Aragon will also “box” at a salute to 1940s heavyweight Billy Conn on Nov. 6 at the L.A Airport Marriott.

San Pedro trainer John Ibarra says to watch for Mike Chavez of Narbonne High in 1996. “He’s only 15, a great prospect for the ’96 Olympic team,” Ibarra said. “He’s already a lightweight, but he’s 5-8. He can really bang. I call him ‘Little Boom-Boom.’ ”

Prime Ticket boxing announcer Ruben Castillo is in hot water with the State Athletic Commission. The commission staff approved a Bakersfield promotion believed to be staged by Eric Bonilla and Jorge Maron. According to executive officer Richard DeCuir, the commission later learned that the promoter was actually Castillo, who was not licensed. Bonilla and Marron were fined $2,000, which they have appealed. . . . Arthur Lopez of Rohnert Park, Calif., has asked the commission for permission to stage boxing promotions with contestants wearing 56-ounce gloves.


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