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? Virgil Hill, the WBA champ and the man Moorer really wants to fight, will make a Jan. 3 defense against Mike Peak (9-3-2), who has not fought since November 1989. Peak, the WBA's No. 1 contender despite his record and absence from the ring, has fought only seven main events, losing two.
?Andre Nelson didn't make anyone's list of contenders until—shazam!—he won the International Boxing Council's newly created championship, decisioning Tony Harrison in a 12-rounder in Detroit on Dec. 6. Another preliminary fighter, Nelson was a Moorer sparring partner fighting on a low-budget card. He was as stunned as anyone when he was unexpectedly anointed by the IBC, a recently founded organization run by 93-year-old Marty Cohen out of Miami Beach.
As new kid on the block, the IBC, the K Mart of boxing groups, takes only 2% of a title-fighter's purse, with a $30,000 cap. The most expensive organization is the WBC, which grabs 3% with a $150,000 cap. The other three groups are two-percenters, with $100,000 caps. For the Mike Tyson—Buster Douglas and the Douglas—Evander Holyfield heavyweight championship fights, for example, the WBA, WBC and IBF took a total of $350,000 from each fighter for each fight—$1.4 million in all. They'll share another $700,000 from the Holyfield- George Foreman fight on April 19. That's not a bad haul for nonprofit organizations.
Last Friday night Steward received a call from promoter Bob Arum, the president of Top Rank, who told him that the Hill-Moorer fight had been made. Arum told Steward that HBO was close to buying the fight, and Arum hoped to hold it in March at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Hill would receive $750,000, up a half-million from his previous best purse.
"We're only taking $500,000," says Steward, "just to get Hill in the ring. This is what the light heavyweight division needs: one super champion."
Herbie Lembeck, Las Vegas's top boxing odds-maker, says that Hill, a good boxer and fair puncher, and Moorer, a devastating puncher, would be a pick-'em fight. Either of them would be a 7-to-5 favorite over Williams, a competent boxer with a porcelain chin. Andries the Elder would be a 10-1 underdog against any of the three. And Nelson, the IBC champ? "I wouldn't open my blinds if he fought in my backyard," says one wit.
Hill, however, is still trying to negotiate a fight with Tommy Hearns, a former Steward fighter who briefly held the WBC light heavyweight championship in 1987. Hearns, 32, reportedly demanded $8 million to meet Hill, but has since dropped that to $3 million. He will have to go lower if he wants to fight Hill.
"It's Hill or no one." said Steward of Moorer's preferred opponent: "We are no longer interested in fighting any of the other champions. If not Hill, Mike moves up to heavyweight."
Between fights, Moorer carries 206 pounds. Steward expects him to emerge as a solid 218-pounder, easily. So much for the light heavyweight division. Certainly Moorer has heavyweight feet—size 16�. They go perfectly with his heavyweight punch.