Palmer Park's Speed set to run at title


A weeklong dispute between boxing promoter Alphonso Brooks and the Maryland Athletic Commission was settled amicably yesterday when the commission formally approved an International Boxing Council junior lightweight championship bout matching Eugene Speed of Palmer Park and Harold Warren of Corpus Christi, Texas.

The title match, originally scheduled for Aug. 6, will now be staged at Martin's Crosswinds in Greenbelt Aug. 26.

The IBC, founded in late 1990, is the latest entry in the growing number of world sanctioning organizations, adding to the public confusion over legitimate title-holders.

Brooks and Speed's trainer-manager, Dave Jacobs, had tried to persuade commission chairman Chester O'Sullivan to hold the match Aug. 6, arguing that Speed, who has been in the gym several months preparing for his first title shot, would be "over-trained."

But O'Sullivan and commission secretary Dennis Gring said that the Washington-based Brooks needed additional time to renew his promoter's license and also to solidify the undercard.

With the intervention of Marty Cohen, the IBC's 94-year-old patriarch, Brooks and Jacobs agreed to the postponement.

"They [the commission] told me they didn't want me to lose a lot of money," said Brooks, who began promoting small club fights in the Washington suburbs last year. "That wasn't my concern. I'd have held the fight if we only drew 50 fans. I just wanted to finally give Speed his chance to win a title."

Speed, 28, a clever boxer-puncher whose crowd-pleasing style closely resembles that of Sugar Ray Leonard, another Jacobs protege, is unbeaten in 19 bouts with 14 knockouts.

His professional boxing career stalled in 1988, when he was suspended by the Maryland commission after failing a drug test following a victory over Antonio Garris in December 1987. He was sidelined for a year but has enhanced his reputation with recent victories over Floyd Favors and Kenny Baysmore.

Warren, 30, the younger brother of former welterweight contender Frankie Warren, owns a 15-4 record but has not beaten any recognizable opponents.

Baltimore middleweight Percy Harris will headline Josh Hall's boxing card at LaFontaine Bleu in Glen Burnie Aug. 22 when he battles Edwin Newby of Atlantic City, N.J.

Harris, 28, a former amateur champion who won his first 11 pro bouts, will be trying to resurrect his career after suffering successive setbacks to Bernard Hopkins and Ray McElroy in out-of-town matches. Harris has since returned to the area to be trained by Tom Langley of Laurel.

Newby (5-5) looked impressive here last January, when he stopped Cecil Sims in two rounds.

Washington lightweight Darryl Tyson (33-4), rated the No. 1 contender for champion Pernell Whitaker's crown, has been signed by Madison Square Garden to fight rugged Lupe Suarez of Corpus Christi in Charleston, S.C., Aug. 16. The fight can be seen on the MSG cable network.

Now that Whitaker has disposed of all his 135-pound competition, he is likely to move up to junior-welterweight class. That would give Tyson a chance to fight for the vacant lightweight crown.

The oft-discussed Glenwood Brown-Maurice Blocker title bout could be finalized this week, a Garden publicist said yesterday. A September date is likely, although the match could be delayed until November to open the revitalized Felt Forum, soon to be christened "the Paramount."

Blocker lost his World Boxing Council title to former stablemate Simon Brown. Coaxed by promoter Don King, Brown abandoned his International Boxing Federation crown, and that will be the belt Blocker and Glenwood Brown will be seeking.

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