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Former champ arrested on suspicion of rape

9/6/2004

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.