Bill Cayton, manager of unbeaten, undisputed heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, said Saturday he would go to court if the International Boxing Federation withdraws title recognition of his fighter.
The IBF has threatened not to sanction Tyson's title defense against Michael Spinks June 27 at Atlantic City, N.J., if the bout is scheduled for 12 rounds instead of 15.If it refuses to sanction the fight, the IBF could strip Tyson of its title before the bout or declare the championship vacant if Spinks wins.
Bob Lee, IBF president, has said the organization's title fights would stay at 15 rounds until September.
"I have decided it will be a 12-round fight, and I hope Bob Lee will reconsider," Cayton said at a press conference Wednesday.
"Bill Cayton can't set the rules of an organization," Lee said. "If it's not 12 rounds, the only thing we can do is withdraw."
Lee said Saturday the fight would be 15 rounds and said the IBF "may strip" Tyson of the its portion of his title if Cayton "continues to insist on a 12-round fight."
He said Tyson's IBF championship would be "effectively relinquished" if he entered the ring for a 12-rounder instead of a 15-round fight, because such action "would be in direct opposition to the original agreement that unified the title Aug. 1, 1987."
Cayton said Saturday he and his representatives plan to meet with Lee and his attorney Tuesday.
If the dispute is not resolved, Cayton said, "We will do everything possible to make sure that Mike is not deprived of wearing the IBF belt and depriving him of the title."
"We will take appropriate legal action to protect Mike's rights in the courts." he said. "They can not arbitrarily deprive Mike of the title. It would be unfair and illogical."
However, Sy Roseman, a public relations spokesman for Lee, said the IBF president was cool on discussing the matter with Cayton.
"We're not interested in what he (ayton) has to say," Roseman said. "Bob doesn't want to talk to him."
Cayton said the IBF, which recently voted to limit its title fights to 12 rounds effective Sept. 1, should institute the action immediately.
The World Boxing Association and World Boxing Council limit their championship fights to 12 rounds, and Cayton pointed out that several countries will not allow any fight to last more than 12 rounds, "to protect a boxer's health and welfare."
"If you have a cure for cancer now, why wait . . . months to use it," Cayton said. "It should be done immediately.
"In view of the fact that they (BF members) voted for the measure as a safety precaution for fighters, I can't understand why they are waiting until Sept. 1 for it to go into effect.