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On Dec. 7, 1978, Kalule had defeated Kevin Finnegan, a tough British middleweight, to run his record to 25-0. Palle immediately cabled Saburo Arashida, promoter of the Kudo-Joo fight, with an offer to fight the winner. Six days later Kudo defeated Joo on a split decision. (Just 64 days thereafter Kalule would knock out the appallingly bad Joo in the second round.)
On Dec. 23, 1978, Arashida cabled Palle: "Masashi Kudo fight already contracted. Will take place against Manuel Gonzalez (Argentina). Will consider negotiation after this fight." Gonzalez was ranked No. 5.
The angry Danes filed an immediate protest with Galindez, who three days later wired: "Kudo-Gonzalez fight not approved nor rewquested [sic]. Sanction February 8 mandatory fight date." Said Palle, "Can you believe this liar had the nerve to send me such a cable?"
As the Danes would discover quickly enough, the Kudo-Gonzalez fight, of course, had been requested and it had been approved. Mortimer was in Japan for the Kudo-Joo fight. While there he had advanced the possibility of Kudo fighting Steyn. The Japanese were horrified. Japan belongs to both the WBA and the WBC, and the latter group, by personal command of José Sulaimán, its president, forbids fights against South Africans because of that country's apartheid policy.
The Japanese rejected Mortimer's offer. And as Mortimer' would confirm later, on or about Dec. 16 it had been agreed that Kudo would fight Gonzalez—a month before Galindez, as WBA president, solemnly told the Danes by cable that no such fight had even been requested. He would later repeat that statement to them in person.
On Jan. 17, 1979 Palle and Galindez met in New York City. Once again the WBA president swore that there would be no fight between Kudo and Gonzalez. "Kalule will have his mandatory fight in March," Galindez promised. In February, as Kudo continued to duck Palle's attempts to negotiate a Kalule fight, the Danes cabled Galindez to ask what was happening. The WBA president wrote back: "As you must know, he [Palle] met me...in New York and everything regarding Kalule situation was smoth [sic] solved. ...You are on the way when believe I strictly stick to my word and rules." Six days later Mortimer cabled the Danes that he'd just been notified by Japanese officials that Kudo had contracted to fight Gonzalez in Tokyo.
By now the compulsory defense was 22 months overdue. Playing out the fraud, Mortimer concluded, "My telex to championship committee reads as follows: Masashi Kudo compulsory defence against Steyn...could not take [p]lace for political reasons. Kudo agreed 16th December to fight Manuel Gonzalez for title in Japan 14th March 1979.... Kudo now asks sanction fight against Gonzalez as commitment entered in good faith...and before Kalule available."
The italics in Mortimer's cable are ours. The date bares the lie. The second italicized passage is an outright falsehood. Galindez had already admitted that moving Steyn ahead of Kalule had been a mistake. Now the WBA was using its own mistake as a device for ignoring Kalule's reign as top challenger since November 1977.
On March 14, 1979, Kudo defeated Gonzalez on a controversial decision. Nine days later Mortimer told Palle that Bill Miller of the U.S., a WBA executive who was the official observer at the fight, had, because of the controversy, recommended an immediate rematch. Palle sent a cable of protest to Mortimer, Galindez and Ron Hayter, a Canadian who is chairman of the WBA's grievance and appeals committee.
Early in April the WBA clan met in New Orleans. In executive session they sanctioned the Kudo-Gonzalez rematch. Only Hayter, who in disgust had threatened to pull Canada from the WBA unless it cleaned up its act, backed Palle's protest. He wrote Galindez, "I find it absolutely incredible that Kalule, unbeaten in 27 professional fights, should be treated in this fashion. He deserves a shot at the title. It is long overdue."