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Promoters urge investigation of Foreman-Briggs decision

December 3, 1997

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) _ George Foreman’s promoters sent a letter of protest to the governor and attorney general of New Jersey on Tuesday concerning Foreman’s unpopular loss to Shannon Briggs on Nov. 22.

Foreman, 48, announced he was retiring after losing the 12-round decision, thus ending a professional career that began in 1969.

Foreman, who has a 76-5 record with 68 knockouts, won the undisputed heavyweight championship in 1973, and won the WBA and IBF portions of the division 21 years later.

The majority decision awarded the 25-year-old Briggs was extremely unpopular. The 5,220 at the Trump Taj Mahal arena in Atlantic City, N.J., let loose with thunderous jeers it was announced.

The AP had Foreman winning 116-112, and boxing journalists throughout the country panned the decision.

Irving Azoff and Jeff Wald, Foreman’s promoters, urged Governor Christine Todd Whitman and Attorney General Peter Verniero along with the Casino Control Commission and State Athletic Control Board to investigate the judges of the fight.

Azoff and Wald are involved in the music and entertainment industry.

``We polled over 100 media people, boxers, trainers and managers who watched the fight, and not one of them scored the fight for Briggs,″ Wald said Tuesday. ``This wasn’t even a controversial fight. A controversial fight is when you argue and disagree. Outside of two judges ... there is no disagreement.″

Judge Steve Weisfield scored the fight 114-114; judge Calvin Claxton scored it 116-112 in favor of Briggs, and judge Lawrence Layton scored it 117-113 for Briggs.

Judges for the fight were appointed by Larry Hazzard, who would not accept a formal protest or appeal of the decision, according to Wald.

After the fight, Foreman said he didn’t hold Briggs responsible in any way for the decision, and wished him well.

``The young man has had a hard life,″ Foreman said. ``He recently his lost his mother, and was homeless at one time,″ Foreman said. ``I hope he continues to live a clean life, not drinking, using drugs or doing anything to make anyone ashamed of him. He’s a nice young man.″

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