Brian Minto has raised concerns about the referee for his heavyweight clash with Kiwi Joseph Parker on Saturday, but his wish for a late change isn't likely to come to fruition.
Australian Brad Vocale will take charge of the main event at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau despite American Minto saying he would prefer New Zealand boxing identity Lance Revill be given the job.
"Somebody anonymously sent me a message and said 'do not let Brad Vocale ref the fight because he's on Duco's payroll', so I thought it would make sense for me to request somebody that was neutral," Minto said. "I don't know if it is true or not ... but it raised some concerns with me so I brought it to their attention and it's why I don't want him reffing the fight."
Dean Lonergan, of Duco Events, denied the accusation.
"Brad is 100 per cent not on Duco's payroll," he said. "All promoters around the world pay a thing called sanctioning fees to sanctioning bodies, the sanctioning bodies then pay the referees and the officials."
In complaining about the ref, Minto was continuing a theme of the build-up to this fight which has already featured controversy over his testosterone use for a medical condition, and his unwillingness to agree to the type of gloves the Parker camp want to wear.
His main point of contention around Vocale was the official's handling of Parker's last fight, a bout against Marcelo Nascimento which he stopped in the seventh round after the Brazilian received a barrage of punches to the head from the 22-year-old. Nascimento was annoyed at the decision, but it appeared to be the right one - Parker was hitting him at will and the potential for serious injury was enormous.
Not so, according to Minto. "It was a premature stoppage in the last fight," he said. "I didn't think Nascimento was hurt that bad but now that I've started putting the puzzle together, maybe he is in favour of the promoters."
Lonergan said: "Brian doesn't get to pick referees."