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BOXING / EARL GUSTKEY : Chavez-Norris Bout Isn’t in the Cards

If you were hoping for a Julio Cesar Chavez-Terry Norris fight, forget it.

“It ain’t going to happen,” says a disappointed Dan Goossen, Norris’ promoter.

Goossen wants the fight, and so does Norris. So does Norris’ manager, Joe Sayatovich. And Chavez has publicly said he wants it.

But Chavez’s promoter, Don King, doesn’t want it.

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Goossen had offered Chavez and Norris a guaranteed $10 million each for such a match, to be held on Mexican Independence Day, Sept. 16, at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium or in Las Vegas.

Sayatovich had projected Norris-Chavez as “the biggest non-heavyweight fight ever.”

Norris probably cooked the golden goose at the Mexico City show Feb. 20, on which he and Chavez were featured in separate bouts.

Shortly before Chavez easily defeated Greg Haugen, Norris had dominated a world-class welterweight, Maurice Blocker. Norris looked unbeatable.

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King said afterward that Chavez, a natural 140-pounder, wouldn’t stand much of a chance against the 150-pound Norris, even if Norris, as he had agreed to, faced Chavez at 147 pounds.

“I talked with King in Las Vegas Wednesday and he told me to forget it, that Terry would ‘devastate’ Chavez,” Sayatovich said.

“It’s hard to believe any promoter would stand in the way of a fighter’s opportunity to earn $10 million, but that’s the situation. It’s sad, because Julio has no chance to make that kind of money fighting anyone else.”

It is believed King will seek a showdown for Chavez with Pernell Whitaker, assuming Whitaker beats Buddy McGirt in New York tonight.

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King wants Norris to fight his middleweight, Julian Jackson.

Jackson knocked out Norris in two rounds in 1989. But Norris has improved, decisively beating Sugar Ray Leonard and Meldrick Taylor among the others in a 13-bout winning streak. In his last nine bouts, since mid-1990, he has earned more than $3 million.

“I told Don I wasn’t sure Jackson would beat Gerald McClellan next month, and that the situation has changed since Jackson beat Terry,” Sayatovich said.

“Terry has improved so much and Jackson, if anything, has deteriorated. It would be an ordinary fight for Terry, with an ordinary payday.

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“I’m thinking now it would be best for us to have Terry unify the junior-middleweight title, then move up and fight some middleweights. Can you imagine Terry fighting Reggie Johnson (World Boxing Assn. middleweight champion)? That’s a one- or two-round fight.”

Crowd Count: Official paid attendance for the show Feb. 20 at Mexico City’s Azteca Stadium was 132,274. At the time, the crowd was estimated at 130,000.

Stadium officials said 4,000 youngsters were let in free, so the total in the house was 136,274. The paid figure easily surpasses boxing’s previous biggest paid crowd, the 120,757 who saw Gene Tunney defeat Jack Dempsey in a driving rain at Philadelphia on Sept. 23, 1926.

As predicted here several years back, a ring-apron TV cameraman determined the outcome of a fight.

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On Feb. 20 in Fargo, N.D., a title match between light-heavyweight champion Virgil Hill and Adolpho Washington was shortened when a ring-apron camera opened a one-inch gash over Washington’s left eye.

It happened as the 11th round ended, when Washington turned to sit on his corner stool. As he did, his brow caught the edge of the camera lens.

Hill, far ahead on points, was given the victory because he was leading at the time of an unintentional injury.

In California and Nevada, rules require ring-apron cameramen to stand on a special platform off the apron. But the rule is usually ignored or seldom enforced. Eventually, a boxer will be driven into a camera lens and injured, as was Washington, and another fight will be unfairly ended.

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It almost happened last May, at the Riviera in Las Vegas, when cruiserweight Donny LaLonde was knocked into a cameraman by Bobby Czyz.

LaLonde received nothing more than a jolt to the back of his head. But it distracted him enough that he could have been seriously injured, had Czyz followed up with a punch when the startled LaLonde turned to glare at the cameraman.

Come on, boxing commissioners. This one is easy. Move the TV guys out of the way.

Boxing Notes

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Pepe Reilly of Glendale, the welterweight on last summer’s U.S. Olympic team, will turn pro March 14 at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas. Reilly, 21, will fight Mark Fornelli (1-2) of Las Vegas. Reilly has signed a contract with Las Vegas promoter Bob Arum.

The Forum lost its hoped-for heavyweight main event March 22 when Tyrell Biggs pulled out of his match against Dave Dixon. However, a first-round bout of the Forum welterweight tournament still is scheduled, Engels Pedroza vs. Ken Gould. Gould was the 1988 U.S. Olympic team welterweight. . . . Tuesday on USA Cable: Larry Holmes vs. Rocky Pepeli from Bay St. Louis, Miss.

Arum says a projected Oscar De La Hoya world lightweight title fight could be held at the world’s largest hotel, the still-under-construction MGM Grand in Las Vegas, which will have 5,000 rooms. Hotel completion is scheduled for early 1994, but construction is ahead of schedule, Arum said. . . . The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations will continue its hearings on professional boxing Wednesday.


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