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Foreman Comeback Runs Into a Detour : Boxing: Title fight against Moorer scrapped when WBA refuses to sanction it.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Is this the end of George Foreman’s last great comeback?

Facing only one last bureaucratic hurdle, the scheduled Nov. 5 heavyweight title bout between champion Michael Moorer and challenger Foreman, 46, was scrapped Wednesday when the World Boxing Assn. refused to sanction the bout.

Although HBO, which had planned to televise the fight, and the fighters’ management groups considered going ahead anyway, Moorer refused when told the WBA planned to take away his belt if he fought Foreman.

Moorer also is the champion of the International Boxing Federation, which had agreed to sanction the Foreman bout.

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“If we did the fight, the WBA was going to strip us,” said John Davimos, Moorer’s manager. “I went to Michael, and he said he will not get stripped. He’s not giving up a belt for George Foreman, and he was adamant about it; money was not the question. I was sort of proud of him for it.”

Moorer, who won the titles last April by defeating Evander Holyfield, probably will make his first title defense on the November date against Joe Hipp.

Davimos said that when the Moorer camp was told the WBA would not sanction a Foreman challenge, presumably because it did not consider him a legitimate contender, the camp asked for a waiver to allow Moorer to defend his IBF title without being stripped by the WBA. The WBA, Davimos said, voted down the proposal.

This marks the second major title defense that has fallen from Moorer’s grasp. Davimos was close to arranging a unification bout against World Boxing Council champion Lennox Lewis earlier this year when Lewis surprisingly signed a deal to fight former champion Riddick Bowe.

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Bob Arum, Foreman’s promoter, criticized the Moorer camp for allowing the WBA to wreck the Foreman fight and said it was “an act of cowardice” on Moorer’s part.

“George is very disappointed, very angry,” Arum said. “They can’t pull out like this. The contract says they have to pursue every avenue, every appeal before they can pull out.”


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