Rose says Top Rank 'wanted me to take a dive'
NEW YORK -- A former boxer was offered $5,000 by members of promoter Bob Arum's Top Rank company to throw a fight in 1995, the Daily News reported Monday.
Mitchell Rose told the newspaper that two men from Top Rank came to his Brooklyn home a few weeks before his Dec. 15, 1995, fight against Eric "Butterbean" Esch and said they'd give him $5,000 to lose the bout.
"They said, 'We have some money for you, a substantial amount of money,'" Rose said. "They wanted me to take a dive. They didn't want me to beat Butterbean."
Rose, now 34 and retired, was 1-6-1 at the time and said he declined the offer. He later sent Butterbean to his first professional loss by stopping him 48 seconds into the second round of the fight at Madison Square Garden.
Rose fought just twice -- both losses -- after the win, and claims he was blackballed because he refused the bribe.
Rose's allegations come on the heels of FBI agents seizing computers and financial records from the Las Vegas offices of Top Rank last Tuesday.
At the time, Arum didn't respond to published reports that linked the probe to a variety of misconduct, including the fixing of a September fight between Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosley.
Arum's company wouldn't respond to the new allegations, either.
"We will not comment on unverified allegations,"Top Rank spokesman Patrick Smith told the newspaper.
Esch told the Daily News he doubted the validity of Rose's story.
"Why would you pay a guy with a 1-6 record to take a dive?" Esch said. "I didn't see anything at Top Rank criminal ... related to fighting."
An unidentified law enforcement source told the newspaper that Rose's claim is consistent with other allegations they've heard.
"This is exactly the kind of thing that we are after," the source said.
The FBI said last Tuesday that the raid was part of an investigation that involves New York City police, but declined to say what it was seeking. Agents returned the computers Thursday, but reportedly kept about two years of financial files taken during the raid.
A report in the Daily News last week quoted unnamed sources as saying the investigation had been ongoing for 20 months and included allegations the September fight between Mosley and De La Hoya was fixed.