Jack Cohen, Norton's adviser, seemed less flexible: "No cut. We won't take one dime less than the $1.1 million we agreed upon." Emanuel Steward, Hearns' manager, took a similar stance about his fighter's $1.2 million. "No cut," he said.
Jimmy Jacobs, the manager of Benitez, took a softer line about his fighter's $1 million guarantee. He had heard that all the managers would be asked to take cuts but hadn't heard any figures. "What do they mean about a cut?" asked Jacobs. "Are they talking $100,000 or $900,000? No one has mentioned any numbers to me. I'll go to the meeting at the Garden with an open mind. But one thing I'm sure of: a Hearns-Benitez fight will absolutely take place. The question is where and what are the numbers."
Last Monday they began sifting through the debris of Smith's shattered empire. By late afternoon Wells Fargo had filed suit against Smith, Lewis, their wives, Marshall and MAPS, seeking to recover $21.3 million. Meanwhile, back East, Marshall and MAPS attorney Edward Franklin were still trying to salvage the Feb. 23 Garden card.
Waiting in the wings were Arum, King, Detroit promoter John Yapp and the Garden's Condon and Clancy. "Legally, until MAPS dissolves and all their contracts are null and void, we can't do a thing," Condon said. "Should that happen we, like every other promoter in the world, would be interested in bidding on some of the bouts"—at prices that would put them in the black.
Boxing isn't dead. It's just taking another standing eight count.