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Blog 23

Updated: October 17, 2008, 9:25 PM ET
By Don Steinberg

Friday, 9 p.m. ET -- Playing it safe

I spoke with Nick Lembo, legal counsel for the New Jersey Athletic Control Board, about the referee controversy. He said they received a late objection from the Kelly Pavlik camp about a possible friendly relationship between Bernard Hopkins and referee Earl Morton, with assertions that "have yet to be proven or disproven." Without enough time before the fight to sort it out, the Commission "erred on the side of caution" and appointed a replacement ref (Benjy Esteves -- see post below) that both sides agreed on. The Commission allowed the late objection to Morton, Lembo said, because there was some question about whether Pavlik's management (manager Cameron Dunkin, not promoter Top Rank) had been in the loop about the choice of Morton early enough.

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