The victory was Morales's most impressive since he outslugged Marco Antonio Barrera, a fellow Mexican, in February 2000. Promoter Bob Arum plans to have the two split a card on Dec. 1 in Las Vegas before a second meeting, perhaps over the Cinco de Mayo weekend next year.
The odd man out—literally and figuratively—in this equation is former 126-pound champ Prince Naseem Hamed, whom Barrera thrashed in April. Having turned down an immediate rematch with Barrera, Hamed now can't face him again until next summer at the earliest. He will never face Morales if Arum has any say. " Hamed is unworthy of Morales," says the promoter. "He's not a fighter; he's a fraud and a phony. I'd never allow him to get in the same ring with Erik."
Don King's Fiasco
Not-So- Great Wall of China
By conveniently wrenching his neck while training in Beijing last week, John (the Quiet Man) Ruiz helped relieve promoter Don King's own pain in the neck—at least for a while. Ruiz's alleged injury forced postponement of his Aug. 4 WBA heavyweight title defense against Evander Holyfield, a bout that is turning out to be one of the mangiest mutts to come out of King's kennels.
King reportedly had been promised $17 million—$10 million of which was to cover the purses of the third-rate Ruiz and the washed-up Holyfield—by Great Wall International Sports Media, a Beijing-based venture capital group. Great Wall had been seeking more than $1 million for Asian TV broadcasting rights but had to settle for $50,000 and 13 minutes of ad time to peddle. With only half of the 12,000 tickets sold and the Chinese government offering no financial backing, the outfit projected a $2 million loss.
It gets worse. An offer of all the tea in China couldn't have persuaded a major U.S. cable network to carry this farce, so King had to produce it himself on pay-per-view. Trouble is, the show was to air the same night as an HBO telecast of a more interesting heavyweight fight, between WBO champ Vladimir Klitschko and Charles Shufford.
It also gets bizarre. Last Friday night ESPN reported that King had already received $7 million from Great Wall and that he couldn't leave the country until he gave it back. "That's categorically untrue," said King from his Beijing hotel on Sunday. "It's false testimony, apparitions and doppelg�ngers, perpetrated by my archfoe, Bob Arum."
King insisted that all money issues have been resolved, that Ruiz is making a "remarkable" recovery and that the bout will be rescheduled, probably for Oct. 6 in Beijing. He said he would love to have China host a proposed Nov. 10 rematch between Lennox Lewis and Hasim Rahman, the WBC and IBF heavyweight champ. "My mission in life now is to establish friendship and goodwill between peoples of various cultures," said the 70-year-old King. "I mean that both conversationally and otherwise."
De La Hoya's Plans
Since his defeat of Oscar De La Hoya in Los Angeles 13 months ago, Sugar Shane Mosley has been a man in search of an opponent. A third-round demolition of the overmatched Adrian Stone last month was his third straight victory over a middling fighter since he took De La Hoya's WBC welterweight crown. After the bout Mosley showed the pressure he's feeling to find a bona fide challenger by appealing to De La Hoya's pride. "Oscar needs to fight me," he said. "He needs to try to get his revenge."