Boxing

Moscow Mayor Joins Maskaev Team In Lobbying Sulaiman For Huge Unifier, All Russian Title Bout Between Oleg and Klitschko April 21!

08.01.07 - By Michael Marley, Boxingconfidential.com: WBC President Jose Sulaiman is being heavily lobbied by powerful Russian politicians and business leaders to green light a WBC-IBF heavyweight title unification for Moscow on April 21. Boxingconfidential.com has learned exclusively that one of those writing to Sulaiman to express support for a unifier between WBC champion Oleg Maksaev and IBF king Wladimir Klitschko is the city's popular mayor, Yuri Luzkhov..

Mayor of Moscow since 1992, Luzkhov is totally behind Maskaev promoter Dennis "Rapstar" Rappaport's application to the world boxing governing body to allow Maskaev and Klitschko to fight, probably in the Olympiske Stadium where ticket prices will range from $5,000 at ringside to about $35 for the Bob Uecker binocular section.

"We are on the same wavelength with Klitschko's guys, Bernd Bonte and Shelly Finkel," Rappaport told me. "Boxing needs this. This is a huge event, a crossover fight, a big attraction and it will give boxing and, in particular, the sagging heavyweight division a much needed lift.

"I have already signed a contract for a venue. We have an understanding with Shelly and Bernd, an agreement in principle to make this super fight a reality. Oleg is huge in Russia and Klitschko is big, very big. Oleg's title defense (against Peter Okhello) in Moscow sold tickets faster than a Madonna concert over there did.

"This is a $10 million event," Rappaport said. "By that, I mean an event where there will be $10 million after all the expenses are paid. The German TV rights alone are worth $2.5 million and we've had good conversations with HBO. HBO wants it even though they cannot show it live. There will be absolute parity for Oleg and Wlad, they will share the money equally."

Theunification bout could be signed off on by Sulaiman under WBC Rule 1.21(b) which permits a mandatory defense by a champion to be delayed under "extra special circumstances." The rule cites involvement of "a legendary" fighter or a unification bout as such circumstances.

Last week, in a Boxing Confidential exclusive, Sulaiman invited Team Maskaev to file a letter asking for permission to fight Klitschko.

But Don King, who now controls WBC mandatory challenger Samuel Peter and Klitschko's mandatory challenger Ray Austin, stands in the way. Rappaport is not known for being the peaceful sort but he did express hope that even King could be satisfied enough to let Maskaev-Klitschko happen April 21.

"Financial accommodations could be made (by both champs)," Rappaport said. "And both Maskaev and Klitschko and both of them are willing to stipulate they will next fight any required compulsory fight after this event. The WBC can look at some of the other divisions where they have not had compulsory defenses in two years, four years and, in the case of the super welterweights, six years. This is something very good for boxing."

As far as Peter's victory over James Toney, Rappaport said neither he nor Maskaev were overly impressed.

"Toney had nothing. He got old overnight. Toney was a dead man walking. I should've know when Toney had that Tae-bo guy with him. Last time I saw him in boxing, he was with Ray Leonard and Ray got stopped by Hector Camacho. Maybe Billy Blanks gave James too many lima beans."

What say you, Don Jose Sulaiman?

Article posted on 08.01.2007



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