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Promoter says Byrd is hindering unification efforts

12/6/2005 - Boxing

NEW YORK -- Boxing promoter Don King says in a lawsuit that
his desire to unify four major heavyweight boxing titles in a
television tournament was spoiled by IBF champion Chris Byrd.

In the suit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan,
King said Byrd owes him at least $1 million for breach of contract
and not less than $3 million for interfering with King's business
prospects.
King said the 35-year-old boxer disrupted his plan to unify the
titles by refusing to participate in a tournament the promoter
hoped would air on HBO or Showtime.
Four different organizations -- the International Boxing
Federation, the World Boxing Organization, the World Boxing Council
and the World Boxing Association -- all have heavyweight champions.
The lawsuit accuses Byrd of refusing to participate in a bout
last spring or in March 2006 against Vitali Klitschko, a Ukrainian
boxer who was the WBC champion until he retired last month.
Patrick English, a lawyer for Byrd, said the allegations were
not true.
"Never accept anything that Don King says as true," English
said. "We see this as a grandstand play. That's all it is."
In October, Byrd defeated another of King's boxers, DaVarryl
Williamson. King's lawsuit is the continuation of a contract
quarrel between Byrd and King. In 2004, Byrd sued King, contending
that the promoter must live up to a contract that guaranteed Byrd
$2.5 million for each title defense.