Last September at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro, junior middleweight Andrew Council of Lanham lost a controversial decision to fellow Marylander Keith Holmes in a hurriedly prepared cable TV match for the vacant U.S. Boxing Association title.
Council appeared to land the heavier punches during the lively 12-round battle, but could not overcome having three points deducted for questionable low blows by referee Chris Wollesen.
But Council (18-3-2), who will be fighting Anthony Ivory (15-17) of Chicago in the main event at Martin's West in Woodlawn tonight, soon could be granted another shot at the USBA crown after a bizarre series of events.
Holmes had been arrested by FBI agents the day of his match with Council as a principal suspect in a drive-by shooting in Washington in May 1993. He was released on bail and allowed to fight.
A month later, Holmes was shot in the leg in a drive-by shooting by two masked gunmen reportedly seeking retribution. He is in jail, awaiting trial.
"We're not going to have our title locked beyond bars," said International Boxing Federation president Bob Lee. "We'll vacate the title, and if Council wants to take another crack at it, that's fine with me."
Council's manager, Dick DiPetro, immediately filed a request with the IBF, which will have to find a suitable opponent.
"I think justice is being served," said DiPetro, who manages several auto dealerships in the Washington area. "The referee played too big a part in Andrew's match with Holmes. He didn't let the fighters decide it."
DiPetro provides Council with an apartment and living allowance so he can concentrate on his boxing career.
"I've been interested in boxing all my life," DiPetro said. "When I lived in New Jersey, I managed a decent welterweight named Luis Rivera, but he wound up in jail."
Bernard Roach, who replaced Adrian Davis as Council's trainer two years ago, has tried to play down the prospect of another championship match.
"Right is right, but I like to deal strictly with what's on hand," he said. "You can always stumble over some obstacle if you're caught looking ahead. Andrew is at a crossroads in his career. I tell him every day, 'This is your year, and every fight is a championship fight.' "
Roach also has advised Council not to be fooled by Ivory's losing record.
"Guys like that are always unpredictable," he said. "Plus I heard he fought a lot of quality guys."
He was on the money. The Ring record book shows Ivory has fought tougher competition than Council, losing decisions to title contender Roger Turner and former world champion Simon Brown.
* NOTES: The Council-Ivory bout tops an eight-bout card to which promoter Stuart Satosky has made a number of changes since it first was announced. Rockville middleweight Les Johnson, who was scheduled to fight Glen Odum of Erie, Pa., in an eight-rounder, was scratched after being knocked out in a recent sparring session. Satosky has substituted a heavyweight match pitting Mel Foster (16-1) of Washington against Ron Gullette (8-5) of Charlotte, N.C. They fought 15 months ago, with Foster scoring a second-round knockout.