Brown agrees to defend title March 18


International Boxing Federation welterweight champion Simon Brown has put off signing a long-term agreement with promoter Don King, but agreed yesterday to defend his title March 18, on the under card of the Mike Tyson-Donovan "Razor" Ruddock heavyweight bout at The Mirage in Las Vegas.

"That will be my mandatory title defense," said Brown, a Jamaican native who makes his home in Germantown. "I'll fight Glenwood Brown or Buddy McGirt. If McGirt is ready, he'll get the shot because he's rated No. 1."

McGirt (48-2-1) has been inactive since injuring his shoulder in July in a victory over Jose Bermudez. Glenwood Brown is ranked No. 2 by the IBF.

"Glenwood likes to slug it out, but McGirt is a much better boxer," said Brown. "I don't really care who I fight. I know I can beat either of them."

Brown was in New York yesterday to attend a news conference at which King announced his new boxing agreement with Showtime Event Television that will produce weekly cards on basic cable television, monthly pay-per-view boxing and four so-called big-event shows annually.

The first big show is the 12-round Tyson-Ruddock match, which King said will take place at The Mirage, with or without a title at stake.

The World Boxing Council has threatened to strip heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield for choosing to make his first defense against George Foreman rather than Tyson. The matter is in the courts.

Holyfield, meanwhile, wants the federal government to investigate professional boxing. The champion and four congressmen said yesterday at a news conference that they supported congressional hearings to study legislation aimed at regulating the sport on a national level.

Legal matters have prevented Brown from signing with King, who is eager to add the 147-pound champion to his boxing stable.

"I'm still in litigation over my contract with [manager] Al Balboin and [promoter] Don Elbaum," Brown said. "Until that is settled, I'm not signing a new contract with anyone."

Brown has contested the contract, which expires in August 1991, saying that Balboin and Elbaum withheld money from past purses and that checks he received were backed by insufficient funds.

Brown, now being advised by Maryland attorney James Cooks, would not reveal the size of his title purse, but it was believed to be close to $500,000.

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