LEWIS Fires Manager Before Fight

Wednesday, November 7th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LONDON (AP) _ Lennox Lewis fired manager Frank Maloney less than two weeks before his rematch with Hasim Rahman for the heavyweight title.

The former heavyweight champion said he ended the 11-year partnership because of a contract dispute.

``I've got to the point where I'm self-managed now,'' Lewis said during a conference call Tuesday night. ``At different points in their careers, people have to do things for themselves. This is just a business decision.''

The British fighter spoke from his training camp in the Poconos in Pennsylvania, where he is preparing for his Nov. 17 bout with WBC-IBF champion Rahman in Las Vegas.

Lewis cited a conflict of interest that he said stemmed from Maloney's switch to Frank Warren's Sports Network company last year.

Lewis and Maloney failed to agree on a contract last week. Lewis said Maloney's request for a ``ridiculously high amount of money'' killed the deal. Maloney was quoted Wednesday as saying a confidentiality clause made it ``in effect a slave-labor contract.''

Still, Lewis insisted he and Maloney parted amicably.

``I think in one sense Frank knows my career is coming to a close and he needs to continue his career,'' Lewis said. ``These are the choices he has made. I am disappointed but these things happen in life. Me and Frank will always be friends.''

The partnership, which started soon after Lewis won the gold medal at the 1988 Olympics, appeared in trouble for weeks. Maloney had been conspicuously absent from Lewis leading to the rematch with Rahman.

Maloney, barely over 5 feet, often wore Union Jack suits for Lewis' fights and was a favorite foil for promoter Don King. Maloney's role had diminished after Lewis split two years ago with promoter Panos Eliades and took more control of his affairs, bringing in Adrian Ogun as business manager.

Maloney signed Lewis after he won the super heavyweight title for Canada at the Seoul Olympics. Lewis moved to England, turned pro and became the first Briton to win the heavyweight title.

Lewis beat Oliver McCall in 1997 for the WBC title. He was briefly the undisputed heavyweight champ after winning a unanimous decision over Evander Holyfield in 1999. He lost the WBC and IBF titles when he was knocked out by Rahman in South Africa on April 21.