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Leonard-Camacho fight back on for March 1

January 14, 1997

NEW YORK (AP) _ Sugar Ray Leonard’s comeback is back on.

After the bout was derailed because of alleged ties to organized crime by one of the original promoters, Leonard’s comeback against Hector ``Macho″ Camacho has been reset for Saturday night, March 1, instead of Feb. 28. The Atlantic City Convention Center remains the site, but the promotion and pay-per-view distributor have changed.

``We’ve been keeping this fight together in a number of ways,″ said Bernard Dillon, who was involved in the original promotion and who remains a promoter.

Dillion will promote as Dillon Promotions instead of New Contenders. Mike Acri Boxing will remain as a promoter, while Caesars Atlantic City replaces Sun International Hotel, Ltd., and Griffin Gaming & Entertainment as site promoter and Titan Sports replaces TVKO as pay-per-view distributor.

``Ray and Hector never left camp and never gave up that this fight would by held,″ Dillon said by telephone on Monday.

The 40-year-old Leonard has been training since Dec. 8 at Chandler, Ariz., for what will be his first fight in a little more than six years. Camacho, 34, who has had 28 fights in six years, has been training since Dec. 27 at Clewiston, Fla.

``I needed a head start,″ Leonard joked.

Asked if there was any change in the purse structure, which has never been announced, Dillon said, ``I don’t speak about purses.″

``I’m fighting March 1, so apparently I’m very pleased about it,″ said Leonard, who reportedly was to get $5 million when the fight was first announced on Nov. 14.

The Feb. 28 fight was to have been promoted by New Contenders, whose president was Dillon and whose chairman was Michael Blutrich.

The fight ran into trouble when the New Jersey Casino Control Commission was asked by regulators to ban New Contenders from promoting it because of alleged ties to organized crime. The allegation centered on Michael Blutrich, a lawyer for Scores, a New York City topless dance club raided in November by federal agents investigating links to the Gambino crime family. Blutrich also was listed as chairman of New Contenders.

The sponsors pulled out of the fight, as did TVKO, the pay-per-view division of Time-Warner Sports.

Dillon resigned from New Contenders and announced his intention to keep the fight together.

Rich Rose, president of Caesars World Sports, said the company had held several Leonard fights at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, ``and when we had the opportunity to do this, we were very happy to be able to put it in Atlantic City. Not many guys have transcended their sport the way Ray has. It’s an entertaining matchup.″

``We’re not very agressive about boxing,″ said McMahon, whose Titan carries World Wrestling Fedration matches.``But when it comes to being associated with people like Ray, we wanted to do it.″

The only other fight Titan has distributed was Leonard’s ninth-round victory over Donnie Lalonde for the WBC super middleweight and light heavyweight titles Nov. 7, 1988, at Caesars Palace.

Leonard, who has held world titles in three other weight classes, last fought on Feb. 9, 1991, at New York’s Madison Square Garden where he was outpointed in 12 rounds by Terry Norris.

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