The next bout on the unification series docket was the heavyweight title fight between Witherspoon and Tubbs that the WBA had mandated when traces of marijuana had shown up in Witherspoon's postfight specimen. It was a rematch-- scheduled for December 12 at Madison Square Garden--that held little appeal for boxing aficionados, the original fight having been a clinker. In a paroxysm of candor, King, the promoter of both fights, would say that pairing those two men again was so limited an attraction that it "couldn't draw flies to a dump."
Curious words to speak aloud just days before the rematch. Yet by then, events were unfolding that would make King and his methods as much an issue as the fight.
The convoluted scenario began on December 4, eight days before the bout, when Tubbs said he had a shoulder injury and King said that that was merely Tubb's way of trying to enlarge his purse, reported to be between $75,000 and $85,000. King used the word "extortion" for what Tubbs was doing. Whereupon Tubbs materialized in New York on December 8, waving