Originally created 11/10/99

Lewis: Scandal confirms suspicion



LAS VEGAS -- Lennox Lewis thinks the IBF rankings scandal shows he was right to be suspicious about his draw against Evander Holyfield. To Holyfield, the scandal is sad.

"I've gotten it on good account that before the first Holyfield-Lewis fight, Bob Lee said he had Holyfield as his champion," said WBC champion Lewis, who has a rematch with Holyfield, the IBF-WBA champion, Saturday night. "He's the one who put Eugenia Williams into my fight. Now everything is coming out, and it just confirms to me our suspicions of skullduggery."

Williams voted for Holyfield in the March 13 fight, which most observers thought Lewis clearly won.

Lee, the IBF president, and three other men were indicted by a federal grand jury last Thursday at Newark, N.J., on 32 counts of soliciting and accepting bribes to fix rankings.

Williams wasn't indicted. No charges have come out of a Manhattan grand jury investigation into the controversial decision in the fight at Madison Square Garden.

"It's sad," Holyfield said Tuesday. "A lot of people didn't get the proper opportunity to get their (title) chances. And the public in one way or another got robbed of seeing some good matches."

Williams, of Atlantic City, N.J., told the Newark grand jury that no one attempted to sway her decision, her lawyer has said.

Judge Stanley Christodoulou of South Africa favored Lewis 116-113, Williams favored Holyfield 115-113 and Larry O'Connell of Britain scored it 115-115, making it a majority decision.

Saturday night's fight in the Thomas & Mack Center will be worked by referee Mitch Halpern and judges Chuck Giampa, Bill Graham and Jerry Roth, all of Nevada.

"From the very beginning, we were going to have Nevada officials because of the controversy in the first fight," said Marc Ratner, executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission.

All three judges have judged IBF, WBA and WBC titles fight outside Nevada and have scored more than 220 championship fights. Halpern has been the referee for more than 60 title fights.

Ratner said it isn't unusual for all Nevada officials to work title fights here. He also noted that in three WBA title fights on Saturday night's undercard, two of the three judges for each bout will be from outside the United States.