Sugar Ray Leonard and Donny Lalonde won't lace up their gloves for serious battle for four more days, but the atmosphere around their fight is steaming like a plot straight out of the soaps.
"As the (Boxing) World Turns" featured on Wednesday such dialogue as:- Mike Trainer, Leonard's attorney, suggesting that rival promoter Bob Arum is trying to sabotage the bout.
- Arum responds calling Trainer "an absolute, despicable liar."
- Jay Coleman, a former Lalonde associate suing the fighter, saying Lalonde doesn't even belong in the ring and, "If Leonard hits him in the right place, he could collapse. There could be a death in the ring."
And there were the other usual modern fight accompaniments, such as threats to block the Monday night bout at Caesars Palace, and attempts to attach part of Lalonde's purse.
Trainer said he believed Arum was behind an alleged effort by Coleman to undermine the bout by revealing damaging information about Lalonde's previous opponents.
Trainer said Coleman called him early Wednesday morning and told him he had four hours to resolve the dispute between Coleman and Lalonde or "he would blow this thing out of the water."
Trainer said he thought Arum was behind the call and also a published report that questioned the quality of Lalonde's opponents.
"Coleman told me today he's spoken with Bob Arum," Trainer said. "If he (Arum) thought there was some way to discredit this event, he would. My guess is he'd jump in the fray, but he'd be on the sidelines because he's getting into dangerous territory here."
Arum called Trainer's accusations "ridiculous" and said Trainer created the controversy because the fight is not selling well.
Arum conceded he had spoken to Coleman, but said the conversation took place six weeks ago when Coleman was seeking money to hire an attorney to file his suit against Lalonde and his manager, Dave Wolf.
Coleman has filed suit in state court in an effort to get part of Lalonde's purse for the fight. He claims Lalonde broke a contract signed in 1983 for Coleman to promote his fights in Winnipeg.
Coleman reportedly has lost two attempts in Canada to collect the money after Lalonde's fights, and Wolf said earlier he was not concerned about the claims.