Boxing: Ibrox in ring for rematch

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The Independent Online
IBROX STADIUM in Glasgow yesterday became the latest venue to emerge as a possible contender to stage the Lennox Lewis-Evander Holyfield heavyweight unification rematch.

Lewis's promoter, Panos Eliades, and his manager, Frank Maloney, are to meet officials of the stadium's owners, Rangers football club, tomorrow for discussions about hosting the fight.

Yesterday Maloney had talks with Tom Shorey, the sales director of the new 75,000-capacity Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, with a view to staging the fight in the Welsh capital, where Lewis stopped Frank Bruno in October 1993 in his first term as World Boxing Council champion.

Eliades, though, still believes Las Vegas will emerge as the favourite location. It is believed that the newly opened Mandalay Bay Hotel, which contains an 18,000-seater arena, is showing a big interest in staging the reunification rematch. The last major boxing staged at Ibrox was Jim Watt's WBC lightweight title defence against America's Howard Davis in June 1980.

Meanwhile it has emerged that a late flood of bets, said to total more than $1m (pounds 635,000), were placed on Holyfield just before he stepped into the ring with Lewis, drawing the attention of investigators.

The Nevada Gaming Control Board has confirmed that it is investigating money placed at a number of Las Vegas betting outlets in the hours before the fight in New York on 13 March.

Almost all of the bets were refunded after the fight was ruled a draw, even though Holyfield appeared to have lost.

The probe by gambling regulators comes on top of investigations by a Manhattan grand jury, a state Senate committee and the New York State Athletic Commission.

Nevada investigators are primarily concerned with whether the money was bet on behalf of one individual or group by so-called "messenger" betters, which is against Nevada law.

The judge who came under fire for scoring the Lewis-Holyfield encounter as a draw, Larry O'Connell, will come into contact with Maloney again at the Royal Albert Hall on 3 April. O'Connell is due to referee the Maloney- managed Julius Francis in his British heavyweight title defence against Brixton's Danny Williams.

Maloney has cooled down since the fateful night. "A lot of things are said in the heat of the moment, and anyone can make a mistake," he said. "He's got a job to do; I've got a job to do.

"He's never made a bad decision in any of my fights in Britain and I've never questioned his integrity. When we meet again I'm sure we'll shake hands. He is an ordinary guy who loves the sport of boxing."