Former champ arrested on suspicion of rape

Updated: September 6, 2004, 9:44 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

MANAGUA, Nicaragua -- Former world champion Ricardo Mayorga was arrested Friday on suspicion of rape, leaving some doubt about the status of his Oct. 2 middleweight bout in New York against Felix Trinidad.

Mayorga was released later Friday, after his lawyer, Sergio Morales, charged that the arrest warrant used to detain the boxer had expired Thursday. Appeals court Judge Ricardo Gomez ordered Mayorga freed and upheld an injunction filed by Morales that allowed his client to travel to New York.

The boxer arrived in Las Vegas on Saturday in time to watch Cory Spinks successfully defend his middleweight title against Miguel Angel Gonzalez.

Mayorga was arrested at Managua's international airport after a complaint was filed Wednesday by a 20-year-old woman who said the boxer had invited her to a hotel, beat her and sexually abused her, police spokesman Marlon Montano said.

Speaking earlier to The Associated Press at a police station where he had been taken, Mayorga said he was innocent.

"I had a normal relationship with her and the hotel employees are witnesses that she was happy when she left the hotel. I gave her two bills of 500 cordobas (about $30 each) and we said goodbye," said Mayorga, who was dressed in black, smoked a cigarette and asked a photographer to shoot him in a boxing pose.

Although it was reported that Mayorga said, "I think that it was suspended and Trinidad will fight somebody else, but I'm not sure," when asked about his bout with Trinidad at Madison Square Garden, the boxer later denied that he had said as much.

"I never said that," Mayorga said. "I am going to sleep in the ring and wait for Trinidad. I will knock him out."

As of Monday morning, the Madison Square Garden Web site shows the fight is still scheduled.

Morales said his client had been trying to catch a flight to the United States to continue training for the fight against Trinidad.

"He did not try to flee," the attorney said. "His constitutional rights to free movement are being violated."

Said promoter Don King: "The judge in Nicaragua let him leave that country to fight in America, and that's what we plan to do."

The bout would be first fight after a two-year retirement for Trinidad, a 31-year-old former welterweight, junior middleweight and middleweight champion.

Mayorga is 27-1-4 with 23 knockouts. The former welterweight champ had consecutive victories over Vernon Forrest last year and is going to a higher weight class after losing a close decision to Cory Spinks in a welterweight title unification fight last December.

As recently as June, Mayorga had said he was bored with boxing and planned to retire and get married.

"I have bought five very big houses, two farms with a good amount of land and I have money saved," he said. He said he planned to build an auto racing track and a billiard parlor.

He said he planned to marry Dora Arguello, whose father Alexis, a former boxing great, has often criticized Mayorga's lifestyle and training habits.

In June, Mayorga avoided jail over an assault complaint filed by a man who accused the boxer of threatening him with a pistol and punching him in the face. Mayorga denied the accusations and said the man was harassing him.

Information from The Associated Press and SportsTicker was used in this report.