Monday, Feb. 10, 1997 | 11:59 a.m.
Don't expect a sympathetic ear from local sports books following Friday night's controversial -- aren't they all? -- fight between Lennox Lewis and Oliver McCall Friday night.
McCall, a 3 1/2 to 1 underdog in some sports books, had to be an attractive choice in the World Boxing Council heavyweight championship fight at the Las Vegas Hilton. After all, he defeated Lewis in 1994.
And early on, it appeared as if the 4,800 in attendance were in for a good fight.
Then, one of those things happened. Those inexplicable things, the ones that forever will keep skeptics challenging the integrity of the sport.
McCall quit. Instead of punching Lewis, he punched a time clock, and as a result his $3,075,000 purse is being held pending a hearing.
Referee Mills Lane called the fight 55 seconds into the fifth round because McCall wasn't trying to defend himself. McCall simply refused to fight, for unknown reasons.
Despite the questionable circumstances, the favored Lewis was declared the official winner and there is nothing McCall supporters can do to defend themselves.
Besides, sports books are still trying to recover some of the millions lost on last year's Mike Tyson-Evander Holyfield match, where the victorious Holyfield opened as a 25 to 1 underdog.
This time around, the price isn't nearly as nice. Tyson opened as a 2 to 1 favorite at the Las Vegas Hilton Superbook for the May 3 rematch for the WBA crown, and has been bet up to 2 1/2 to 1. Holyfield is a 2 to 1 underdog to retain his crown.
Sugar Ray Leonard and Hector "Macho" Camacho are each 1.2 to 1 to win their IBC middleweight title fight March 1 in Atlantic City. Betting has heavily favored Leonard, who opened at the Hilton as a 2 to 1 underdog.
Money has poured in on Oscar De La Hoya to beat Pernell Whitaker for the WBC welterweight crown here on April 12. De La Hoya opened at almost 2 to 1 odds, but has been bet to a 4 to 1 favorite. Whitaker is a 3 to 1 underdog.
* DAYTONA ODDS: Jeff Gordon is a 5 to 2 favorite at the Imperial Palace to win Sunday's Daytona 500 in Daytona Beach, Fla., which will be broadcast on CBS at 9:15 a.m. Odds for other popular drivers: Dale Earnhardt 7/2, Sterling Marlin 4/1, Dale Jarrett 5/1, Terry Labonte 8/1, Mark Martin 8/1, Rusty Wallace 8/1, Ernie Irvan 8/1, Ricky Rudd 15/1, Bobby Hamilton 15/1, Ken Schrader 15/1. ... The IP also is offering proposition wagers on highest finishers for Pontiac, Ford and Chevrolet drivers, as well as totals on number of caution flags, average speed, number of different drivers to lead the race, and several head-to-head driving matchups.
* EAST RALLY: Led by a record 20-point third quarter by Charlotte's Glen Rice, the NBA East all-stars defeated the by 12 points Sunday, 132-120, covering the 7-point spread. The Western stars had built a 20-point lead in the second quarter, but led only by three at halftime. The game also went over the total points number of 248 1/2.