Promoter Don King, who had earlier rebuffed Gianfranco Rosi's demands for a purse in excess of $200,000 to defend his International Boxing Federation junior-middleweight title against mandatory challenger Vincent Pettway of Baltimore, won the fight purse bid procedure yesterday that will guarantee the Italian champion $245,000.
King phoned his winning bid of $327,000 to IBF president Bob Lee two hours before the noon deadline. It proved to be only $4,000 more than his only competitor, the Madrid Boxing Club of Spain, represented by Bruce Silverglade of New York, who manages the legendary Gleason's Gym, now located in Brooklyn. Silverglade faxed in his bid at 11:45 a.m.
"If we'd won, we'd have staged the fight in Madrid or Barcelona," said Sliverglade, working on behalf of Spanish promoter Enrique Soria. "Italian television has a history of paying well for Rosi's fights."
Rosi, 36, who has made all his title defenses in Europe since winning the 154-pound crown from Darrin Van Horn in Atlantic City in 1989, will likely now fight in the United States on one of King's pay-per-view boxing shows.
King, who has 90 days to stage the match, did not specify a date or site for the fight.
But his matchmaker, Al Braverman, said it was doubtful the Rosi-Pettway fight would be included on the Jan. 29 Showtime card opening the new MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas that will feature Julio Cesar Chavez, Azumuh Nelson and Felix Trinidad, or an all-heavyweight show scheduled for Charlotte, N.C., Feb. 15.
Pettway, 28, who has been idle since defending his United States Boxing Association crown against Dan Sherry in April, was relieved that he was a little closer to a championship match.
"I didn't think Rosi was going to duck me and risk being stripped of his title," said the No. 1 ranked challenger, who will receive 25 percent (approximately $82,000) of the total purse. "And the money turned out to be a little bit better than I expected."
At a brief meeting in New York last summer when King announced plans for his all-middleweight tournament, Rosi (57-3, 17 KOs) said he was looking past Pettway to a more lucrative match against then World Boxing Council champion Terry Norris. But Norris suffered a stunning four-round knockout by Simon Brown in Mexico earlier this month.
"Brown got there before I could," said Pettway (36-4, 29 KOs).