Boxing: The living legends of boxing: Fifteen men still alive - two of whom fought last night - can justly claim to been heavyweight champions of the world. Jonathan Rendall asks how life has treated them

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The Independent Online
THE OLD cliches retain an eerie resonance. The world heavyweight championship is the Greatest Prize In Sport, the most visible canvas of the Noble Art. Historically it has also cast the longest shadows of the Ignoble Business. No other arena can afford more wealth to the prudent, more temptation to the reckless, and more opportunity to exploiters of the even slightly naive.

These days there are many 'championships', but there is a true line of succession (shown on left). Last night Riddick Bowe and Evander Holyfield fought for the title of linear descent in Las Vegas. The money was unimaginable. But it is no more in real terms than Jack Dempsey was demanding in his day. Despite new technology, it is remarkable how constant the elements of the heavyweight title arena appear, even over the course of a century.

Compassion is an odd quality for a heavyweight champion to have but the greatest ones had it. Ali had it, although he could also be spiteful. Louis knocked out his friend the light- heavyweight champion John Henry Lewis in the first round, he explained, to save him from more prolonged torment. Tyson expressed sorrow at stopping Holmes. Most extraordinarily, Holmes had himself held back against Ali, beseeching the referee to stop the fight, even though it was Ali's lingering aura that stood infuriatingly between Holmes and the acceptance he craved.

The last cliche is: The King is dead; Long Live the King. It is one that has meaning for the heavyweight champions. They know that even in the moment of violent coronation, it is possible to mourn for the deposed.

James Douglas

JAMES 'Buster' Douglas was born on 7 April 1960 and grew up in Columbus, Ohio. As a professional, he seemed destined to play the role of fringe contender and his manager, John Johnson, that of bit player. In February 1990, in the biggest upset since Braddock beat Baer, Douglas knocked Tyson out in 10 rounds. Johnson declined to give Tyson a rematch and instead made himself available to talk business with the Holyfield camp. The resulting purse gave Douglas more than dollars 15m: money for life; indeed for several lifetimes, one would have thought.

In the days before the fight in Las Vegas, Douglas scarcely emerged from his suite at the Mirage Hotel. At the weigh-in, ringsiders learnt why. Douglas had broken all room-service records. He was knocked out by Holyfield and gained recognition as the only man to eat himself out of the heavyweight championship. After their meteoric rise, Douglas and Johnson performed a vanishing act. Douglas built himself a mansion in Columbus, but rarely emerged from it. Earlier this year he was arrested on a drink-drive charge.

Johnson talked of discovering the first Russian world heavyweight champion. According to his fellow Columbus fight manager Mike Laquatra, who has known the pair since the early days: 'John did sign this big Russian guy but when they brought him over it turned out he couldn't fight. I understand James is living in Vegas. When the money starts sounding good again, they all come back. The last I heard, his mother was living in the new house.'

Joe Frazier

SMOKIN' JOE FRAZIER was born on 12 January 1944 and grew up in poverty in Beaufort, South Carolina. He won a gold medal at the 1964 Olympics and attracted investors, but times remained hard. His son Marvis, himself a former professional heavyweight contender, remembers: 'When he came back from the Games he had a broken hand. He had a meat-

packing job but they fired him so he had to look for work. But he always had this belief that he was going to be champ. He was a man on a mission.'

Frazier was managed by Yank Durham and trained by Eddie Futch. Madison Square Garden promoted most of Frazier's early fights, but after he beat Ali in August 1971 Frazier's name was forever made, and he went wherever the big money took him. 'My ma wouldn't let me go and see him fight,' Marvis Frazier says. 'And the night of the Ali fight she said we had to go to bed because we had school the next day. I remember him coming home and, oh man, was he happy. I cut off school the next day anyway.' But Frazier's third fight with Ali in Manila was widely reckoned to have been so hard that it ruined both men's ring futures. Frazier was pulled out by Futch at the end of the 14th round.

Frazier made a comeback in the 1980s but it lasted only one fight: a draw with Jumbo Cummings. He formed a band (lead vocals: J. Frazier) which met with critical bewilderment. Frazier then managed Marvis's pro career, and was criticised for encouraging his son to fight Mike Tyson. Marvis did, and was knocked out. Frazier runs a gym in Philadelphia, and his personal appearances are managed by Marvis. 'My father is just having fun,' Marvis says.

Max Schmeling

MAX SCHMELING'S most famous victory was not his 1930 world-title defeat of Jack Sharkey - to whom he lost the title two years later - but his knockout of Joe Louis in 1936. Schmeling had been brought in as an Aunt Sally for the seemingly invincible Louis. But early on he nailed Louis with a right; Louis never recovered, being knocked out in the 12th round.

In 1938 Louis, by then champion, had his revenge in the most politically charged heavyweight bout in history. Hitler had earlier instructed his minister of propaganda, Goebbels, to bring a Schmeling- Braddock title fight to Germany. Braddock's manager, Joe Gould, told Goebbels he would agree on three conditions. One, that dollars 500,000 be deposited in a bank. No problem, said Goebbels. Two, that the referee be American. Goebbels agreed. Three, Gould added, 'is that you get Hitler to stop kicking the Jews around'. The fight didn't happen.

Schmeling was no match for Louis in the return in the US, and was knocked out in the first round. After the war Schmeling made a brief comeback and then became a referee. In 1954 a Sports Illustrated story carried an allegation by a former heavyweight, Harry Thomas, that he had been offered a bribe by Schmeling's manager, Joe Jacobs, to lose to the German in 1937. Schmeling has shunned publicity since. Aged 88, he still works for a soft-drinks business in Hamburg, and lives alone. Last year Schmeling was inducted into the American Hall of Fame but declined an invitation to travel to the United States. 'He doesn't give interviews,' an acquaintance said. 'He says his life is now history.'

Mike Tyson

MIKE TYSON was born on 30 June 1966. He grew up in the Brownsville ghetto in Brooklyn. Initially, he was a misfit who kept pigeons. Then he discovered he could fight. He became a street tough and spent his adolescence in institutions. After being adopted by Cus D'Amato, he became the youngest heavyweight champion and amassed a dollars 100m fortune. He now resides in an Indiana prison serving a six-year sentence for rape. He is reported to have spent much of his money.

Before losing his crown to Buster Douglas, rumours were rife that Tyson was training on women and booze. Afterwards, his life was said to have stabilised but his wallet was always open. Between fights, Tyson would cross the country hiring limousines and hotel suites, rooting out excitement. Indianapolis proved one stop too many. He was convicted of raping a beauty-pageant contestant in room 606 of the Canterbury Hotel.

From prison Tyson has relayed conflicting messages. He would box when he was released: he then said that he wouldn't. He had converted to Islam and changed his name: he hadn't. He might emigrate to Africa because he does not like either white people or boxing.

Nigel Collins, of New York's Ring magazine, thinks the latter is unlikely to happen. 'He rings up our circulation department and asks to have free copies of the magazine sent to the jail. He never talks to the editorial staff. There have always been two Mike Tysons. There's the lost little boy and there's the street tough. With circulation, it's the little boy. I guess it has to be if he wants to get the free shit.'

Muhammad Ali

MUHAMMAD ALI was born Cassius Clay in Louisville, Kentucky on 17 January 1942. He became the most famous sportsman the world has seen. He has suffered since the early 1980s from Parkinson's Syndrome, which impairs his speech and reflexes. He lives on his estate in Berrien Springs, Michigan, but travels frequently. Ali won the light-heavyweight gold at the 1960 Olympics and turned professional with the backing of the Louisville Sponsoring Group. He made his professional debut in October 1960, outpointing Tunny Hunsaker.

He became a follower of the Nation of Islam before his title fight with Liston in 1964. His first choice of name was Cassius X. His manager was Herbert Muhammed, the son of the Nation of Islam founder, Elijah Muhammed. Angelo Dundee trained him throughout his career. The 'Louisville Lip' was not taken seriously as a challenger to Liston. Had his abilities been known, he almost certainly would not have been given the opportunity, and history would have been denied.

Ali's mind is still sharp but he is prone to attacks of listlessness and shaking and his speech is slurred. Dundee says: 'He travels more now than ever and this is a guy I had to persuade to get on a plane. I went with him to a reception in Washington recently with Clinton. My son and I walked into the hotel lobby and a couple of kids recognised me. I told Muhammad and he said, 'Bring 'em up.' I just told the kids I wanted them to meet somebody. So Ali answers the door and one kid is so excited he starts shaking. Ali says, 'What's wrong? You're shaking more than me.' He showed them the magic tricks and the whole bit.'

Riddick Bowe

RIDDICK BOWE was born in New York on 10 August 1967. Like Tyson he grew up in the tough Brownsville section of Brooklyn, attending the same school, but with a somewhat less spectacular profile and attendance record. As an amateur he had the reputation of being naturally gifted but unmotivated. He kept team-mates amused with plausible mimickry of Muhammad Ali. But no one thought he would ever imitate Ali's feats in the ring.

Bowe put his defeat by Lennox Lewis in the 1988 Olympic final down to personal problems. Others marked him down as a head-case, and no big promoters came in.

Bowe is now worth around dollars 20m, although he is spending it rapidly. He has built a large house outside Washington DC and has a fleet of luxury cars. The house is equipped with cinema, swim-up pool bar and library.

The shattering of his Olympic dream humbled the ebullient Bowe for a while, and during his build-up he was a disciplined fighter, knowing that only a few people still believed in him: his trainer, Eddie Futch, and his manager, Rock Newman. Futch's expert tuition made it seem that Bowe was progressing at a faster rate than Lewis. But after winning the title from Holyfield a year ago, Bowe put on weight at an alarming rate.

How will Bowe be written about in 20 years' time? As another Buster Douglas? Or as a Dempsey, Louis, Ali or a Tyson, a great among greats? And who will be the judges? Why, prudence and temptation, fear and opportunism, and fate: the usual suspects who hover about the heavyweight ring.

Michael Spinks

MICHAEL SPINKS was born on 13 July 1956 and grew up in St Louis. Unlike his brother Leon, he did not want to turn professional. 'All Michael wanted was to get a job,' Butch Lewis, their manager, says. Instead, the younger Spinks, known as 'Slim ' to Lewis, became the first light-heavyweight champion to win the heavyweight title. He now lives in retirement on his estate in Delaware. His estimated ring earnings are dollars 40m.

'Everyone thought Michael was just a clumsy kid who'd got lucky. Well, he got lucky a lot,' Lewis says. Spinks unified the light-heavyweight division. The move to heavy was caused by finance. According to Lewis: 'The networks were saying that Slim was too good for his own good.'

Even light-heavyweight champions such as Billy Conn and Bob Foster had failed at the heavier poundage. 'It wasn't difficult to manoeuvre Don King into thinking it was another easy payday for Larry Holmes,' Lewis says. 'What he didn't know was that Slim was getting ready to kick Holmes's ass.'

But Mike Tyson, who he challenged in 1988, was different. Spinks was knocked out in the first. 'Slim never was too fast off the blocks,' Lewis says. 'I went into Tyson's dressing- room before the fight and he was literally punching holes in the wall. He wasn't just jumping on Slim that night, he was jumping on Robin Givens and quite a few other people as well.'

Spinks is now a partner in Lewis's promotional company. 'I give him 50 cents in the dollar on everything.' Lewis says. 'We laughed together and cried together. Slim was kind of special.'

Ingemar Johansson

INGEMAR JOHANSSON was born on 16 October 1932 and grew up in Gothenburg, Sweden. He still resides in Sweden, where professional boxing is outlawed. His last amateur fight was not auspicious: he was disqualified at the Helsinki Olympics for not trying. As a professional he ran up a string of wins courtesy of a right hand later dubbed 'Ingo's Bingo'. He was given a title shot against Floyd Patterson because he was the only contender not tied up with Norris and the Mob: a condition Patterson's manager, Cus D'Amato, insisted upon.

After Johansson had beaten Patterson, however, this independence came under threat. The fight had been promoted by a young man named Bill Rosensohn in association with D'Amato and Johansson's adviser, Edwin Ahlquist. Rosensohn thought he had the contract for a return bout; to service it he needed a new friend, who turned out to be Norris, even though Norris was banned from promoting by the courts. An ambitious power axis was discussed; partners to include Norris, Rosensohn, Ahlquist, the British promoter Jack Solomons, and Johansson.

It never happened. Johansson told Life magazine that he did not want to be associated with Norris. Since no one else could be found to meet D'Amato's high-minded standards, Johansson and Patterson carried on fighting each other, with Johansson suffering two painful knockouts.

In retirement the enigmatic Johansson worked, and still works, for a television station in Stockholm. Reports of a recent incident in a restaurant involving a fellow diner showed that 'Ingo's Bingo' is still intact.

Larry Holmes

LARRY HOLMES, the 'Easton Assassin', was born on 11 March 1949 and grew up in Easton, Pennsylvania. He is still active in the ring at the age of 44. Holmes was a top amateur whose unpaid career nevertheless ended ingloriously when he was beaten by Duane Bobick, a subsequent professional Great White Hope, at the 1972 Olympic trials.

Holmes fought hard opposition from the start, often being given a last-minute opponent. He kept upsetting the odds, despite the efforts of Don King's matchmaker, Al Braverman, who disliked Holmes and by his own admission tried everything to get him beaten. 'I kept thinking, now this guy has got to beat Larry,' Braverman admitted. Holmes remembers: 'I wasn't Al Braverman's favourite person. He was always looking to get me beat, so it wasn't easy for me and I had to work as a sparring partner.'

Holmes almost beat Marciano's record of unbeaten fights but after losing to Michael Spinks on points in 1985, said that Marciano 'couldn't carry my jock-strap'. He told the fight judges to stick their verdict 'where the sun don't shine', a reference to 'my big black behind'.

Holmes made an attempt in the 1980s to become a singer, but was reckoned even to have failed the Joe Frazier test. He invested heavily in property in his home town through his company, Larry Holmes Enterprises. 'I'm not 'the man who owns Easton, Pennsylvania', as someone once wrote,' Holmes says modestly. 'I just own a little piece of it.' Holmes says he will retire soon. 'You can't go on forever 'cause you get old. And I ain't no spring chicken any more.'

Floyd Patterson

FLOYD PATTERSON was born in Waco, North Carolina, on 4 January 1935. He had eight brothers and slept three to a bed. He now owns properties in upstate New York and lives a comfortable life training boxers and counselling offenders. Patterson won the Olympic middleweight gold medal at the 1952 Olympics and turned professional under the guidance of Cus D'Amato.

D'Amato made a stand against the Madison Square Garden Mobsters, depriving them of Patterson's services. 'People said Cus was harming my career,' Patterson says. 'But it didn't effect me much because Cus wasn't scared.' When Patterson had to fight an eliminator against Hurricane Jackson (a Mob-controlled fighter), he was offered a dollars 20,000 purse. 'Cus said, 'I want 90,' ' Patterson says. 'They said no, so Cus went to Florida and got 90 from another promoter. The Garden came back and said: 'You got it.' '

Patterson was world champion from 1956 to 1959 but subsequently took bad beatings from Liston and Ali. He retired in 1973. 'That year I was reading a newspaper and I saw that the town of New Paltz where I live was high on the list of drug crime and I decided to do something about it.'

Patterson adopted a boy named Tracy Harris. Last year Tracy Harris Patterson won a professional world boxing title. Asked the main benefit that being champion gave him, Patterson says: 'Space. We never had any when I was a kid, so when I became champion the first thing I did was buy the biggest old house I could find and moved the whole family in. I still own that house today.'

Leon Spinks

LEON SPINKS was born on 11 July 1954. Like his younger brother Michael, who was also to become heavyweight champion, he grew up on one of the United States' grimmest housing projects in St Louis, Missouri. His present whereabouts are unknown. He is still sporadically active as a boxer, but tends to appear only on obscure promotions, whenever he needs money. In 1978 Leon Spinks caused one of the biggest upsets in boxing history when, in only his eighth professional fight, he beat Muhammad Ali by a points decision. But Spinks went from the bright lights to the low life in a few short years.

Spinks and his brother were guided by Butch Lewis, an ambitious young black promoter, after they had both won gold at the 1976 Olympics. After the Ali fight Leon Spinks went missing. He had to be searched out in bars and clubs and pool halls. An entourage of hangers- on materialised. A rematch loomed. 'He lived day by day,' Lewis says. 'He wasn't bad. He just had this self-destructive spirit. I'd taken him to the championship, but I'd failed to realise Leon was still Leon.'

Spinks earned over dollars 3m for his second fight with Ali but was outpointed, and the money went quickly. Spinks acquired the nickname 'Neon Leon', and parted with Lewis. Spinks spiralled downwards into the role of journeyman loser. He did bar work in St Louis, and was a 'greeter' at a club in Chicago. He wrestled in Japan. He lost even on the tank-town circuit in the Midwest.

'I last saw Leon about four months ago,' Butch Lewis says. 'He was OK, but I don't like seeing him that way. Leon could have had anything. He should never have had to work again.'

Jersey Joe Walcott

JERSEY JOE WALCOTT was born Arnold Cream on 31 January 1914. He grew up in Merchantville, New Jersey. Today he is ill with cancer in a home in New Jersey. Walcott was 37 years old when he beat Ezzard Charles in July 1951. Walcott's reign coincided with the rule of Frank Carbo and Blinky Palermo, two mobsters who controlled the main weight divisions (dubbed 'accounts') through James Norris, owner of Madison Square Garden.

Walcott's manager was Felix Bocchicchio, a hood aligned with Carbo. When Walcott lost his title to Marciano (also Carbo-influenced) in 1953 there was a clamour for a return because Rocky Marciano was behind on points before the knock-out. A rematch occurred and became the object of speculation when Walcott went down on one knee to be counted out in round one. When the Kefauver Senate hearings investigated Mob involvement in boxing in 1960, Norris was asked why he had paid Walcott, the challenger, substantially more than Marciano. Norris said was that it was 'a very foolish deal'.

In retirement Walcott became a New Jersey sheriff and then, in the 1970s, the New Jersey State Athletic Commissioner. In the 1990s Walcott was again indirectly involved in unwanted controversy when his then-deputy, Bobby Lee (now chairman of the IBF), was named in unproven bribery allegations. Lee publicly denied them but on the stand took the Fifth Amendment. A benefit was held for Walcott in Philadelphia in 1992. According to one eye-witness: 'He did not look well. He doesn't have a lot of money but it's not like he's out on the street.'

Evander Holyfield

EVANDER HOLYFIELD was born on 19 October 1962 and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. He represented the United States at the 1984 Olympics and won a bronze medal at light- heavyweight. He would almost certainly have taken gold had he not knocked out his New Zealand opponent on the break in the semi-finals and been disqualified.

Even then Holyfield was recognised as perhaps the most obvious professional talent on show, but his achievements in the earnings department must have eclipsed even his banker's wildest dreams. Holyfield has grossed around dollars 90m from the ring, the bulk of it from his foray into the heavyweight division, where physically he does not even belong.

Holyfield's rise from the ranks of cruiserweights, whom he had dominated in the late 1980s, was facilitated by weight- training, the clout of his promoters, Dan Duva and Main Events, and by the dual fortuitousness of Tyson's incarceration and Douglas's decision to abandon himself to the smorgasbord. This combination allowed Holyfield to cash in with defences against the division's ancients, Foreman and Holmes, although not without scares on each occasion.

Holyfield's finest hour may have come during his first fight with Bowe, when, outweighed and outgunned, he rallied on heart alone to trouble the champion-in-waiting and make the fight respectably close. He was even able to outbox Bowe at times, raising the thought that had he not let his fighting heart rule his head, one of the most ingeniously improvised heavyweight title reigns could have run even longer.

George Foreman

GEORGE FOREMAN was born in Houston, Texas, on 10 January 1949. He is a product of President Johnson's programme for underprivileged youth. Thanks more to his recent comeback as the 'Punchin' Preacher' than to beating Frazier in 1973, he is one of the wealthiest men in boxing. Foreman won the heavyweight gold at the 1968 Olympics. In the year of Black Power, he conversely paraded around the ring waving a Stars and Stripes flag. Yet as a professional Foreman assumed a brooding image that, with the encouragement of his management team, was inspired by the menacing persona of Liston. Ali called him 'The Mummy'.

Foreman was devastated by his defeat by Ali in Zaire in 1974. Three years later, returning to the dressing-room after losing to Jimmy Young, he said he had had a religious experience, signified by the feeling of being engulfed by blood. He became a preacher in Texas.

Ten years on, Foreman's comeback was launched with the professed aim of raising funds for his parish. The leading figures behind it were Foreman, Archie Moore, the former light-heavyweight champion who was his trainer, Mort Sharnik, a journalist turned fight broker, and Ron Weathers, a colourful character.

At first the venture was regarded as a joke but the networks took to his new incarnation as the uncle figure who joked about how many cheeseburgers he could eat. A title shot followed against Holyfield. Foreman took a beating, and later lost to the latest White Hope, Tommy Morrison. But the comeback earned him at least dollars 25m and neither Foreman nor his parish faithful should go hungry again.

Jack Sharkey

JACK SHARKEY, 'The Boston Gob', was born on 26 November 1902 and is, at 91, the oldest living former world heavyweight champion. Until recently, he lived alone in a large house in New England but recently moved to a nursing home. He has avoided contact with the press for many years. Sharkey is remembered less for his title victory over Max Schmeling than for the controversial manner of his defeat to the 'Ambling Alp', Primo Carnera, in his first defence in 1933.

Carnera, whose enormous size had been caused by a boyhood glandular disorder, was controlled by racketeers and had been built up through fixed fights. Carnera was thought to be an easy mark for Sharkey. But in the sixth round Sharkey went down from a punch which many ringsiders claimed they did not see.

Despite his rugged features, Sharkey was a sensitive man given to bouts of lachrymosity that were lampooned by sports columnists. He acquired further fame in retirement from his exploits as a fisherman who could land a fly on a dime. Despite this, Sharkey distrusted the press, and questions about the Carnera fight have always rankled with him.

Hank Kaplan, a famous fight historian who has corresponded with Sharkey over the years, says: 'The press, I believe, were somewhat unfair to him over that fight. I've seen a film of it and although Carnera is a guy who's had a lot of laughs at him, you can tell that he wasn't that much of a clown in the ring. A private detective friend of mine visited Sharkey recently and said he's still very much alive. He prefers talking about fly-fishing to the fights.'

The other champions: Heavyweights who rule the world

Seth Abraham

Position: Head of Time Warner Sports, parent of Home Box Office.

Age: Early 40s.

Background: Introduced HBO to boxing in Eighties. Collaborated with Don King's heavyweight reunification series; now works with Main Events instead.

Style: Master of the universe.

Power base: Cable TV.

Biggest pay-day: Tyson-Spinks.

Headaches: Don King; Showtime TV.

Wit and wisdom: 'We don't just do boxing. We do boxing that tells a story.'

What they say about him: 'Some men like to swim with sharks, but only Abraham enjoys flossing their teeth.' (Sports Illustrated).

Don King

Position: Owner of Don King Productions Inc.

Age: 61.

Background: Former convict (homicide) and numbers racketeer. Poached Ali from Arum in 1974. As promoter, dominated heavyweight division until Tyson's fall. Now attempting comeback via middleweight division and HBO's rival Showtime.

Style: Evangelist car salesman on speed.

Power base: Tyson; WBC; middleweights; a few heavyweight has-beens.

Biggest pay-days: Tyson v Spinks, 1988. (Total generated: dollars 70m.)

Headaches: Tyson going to prison.

Wit and wisdom: 'There's only one rule anyone connected with boxing must keep in mind - everything you hear in boxing is a lie.'

What they say about him: 'A liar and a thief, the greediest bastard I've ever known.' (Rich Giachetti).

Shelley Finkel

Position: Partners Dan Duva at Main Events; manages Holyfield.

Age: 50.

Background: Ex-rock promoter. Joined Duvas to manage Alex Ramos in 1980; moved up in class by signing Mark Breland in 1984; now a main force in Main Events, despite low profile.

Style: Sociology lecturer.

Power base: Holyfield; options on Bowe.

Biggest pay-day: Holyfield-Bowe I.

Headaches: Holyfield defeat.

Wit and wisdom: 'I may look like a wimp, but I'm not.'

What they say about him: 'If Shelley's guilty of anything, it's taking too much care of Mark Breland.' (Dan Duva).

Dan Duva

Position: Runs Main Events Inc, the world's leading promoters.

Age: 40.

Background: Lawyer. Son of Lou, boxer and manager. Leon Spinks gave Lou and Dan their first big break when he beat Ali for the world title in 1978. Then Buster Douglas's manager broke with King after Tyson's defeat to do business with Duvas.

Style: Napoleonic.

Power base: Evander Holyfield; Pernell Whitaker; promotion generally.

Biggest pay-day: Holyfield-Bowe, dollars 15m purse.

Headaches: King; Arum. Holyfield defeat.

Wit and wisdom: 'There's no magic to what Don King and Bob Arum do. We can do this too.'

What they say about him: 'He never moves or fidgets. No nervous mannerisms. He sits there like the Lincoln Memorial and just does his business.' (Seth Abraham).

Rock Newman

Position: Manager of Riddick Bowe.

Age: 42.

Background: Ex-radio presenter. Took on Bowe after Lennox Lewis beat him in Olympics. Has cashed in since.

Style: Mr Angry. Assaulted photographer after Holyfield-Bowe I last year.

Power base: Bowe.

Biggest pay-day: dollars 8m for Holyfield-Bowe I.

Headaches: Bowe defeat.

Wit and wisdom: 'Where I come from, if you can make dollars 10m and get an easy pay day, there's satisfaction in that.'

What they say about him: 'Newman's gimmick is to make you think he's so mad that you'll have to give in just to shut him up.' (Frank Maloney).

Bob Arum

Position: Promoter, Top Rank Inc.

Age: 61.

Background: Lawyer. In Sixties, investigated Mafia role in boxing; amazed by 'avalanches of cash'. Promoted Muhammad Ali until 1974. Subsequent promotions included 'super-fights' like Leonard-Duran, Hagler-Hearns. Was to promote Morrison-Lewis.

Style: Senior partner, LA Law. Claims to find boxing boring.

Power base: Mixed; had high hopes for Morrison.

Biggest pay-day: Leonard v Duran I.

Headaches: Morrison losing to Bentt. Don King.

Wit and wisdom: 'Yesterday I was lying, today I'm telling the truth.'

What they say about him: 'One of the worst people in the western hemisphere. I don't know the eastern hemisphere very well, but I suspect he'd be one of the worst people there too.' (Cus D'Amato).

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