Larry Holmes & Harold Smith

Larry Holmes & Harold Smith


San Francisco, CA– Let’s go back to December 2010. I was dropped off at the San Francisco International Airport by a lovely lady on an early Saturday afternoon. My destination was Dubai, as former boxing promoter Harold “Ross Fields” Smith, convicted in the 1980s for the biggest bank swindle in U.S. history, this when he used Muhammad Ali’s name and formed a fraudulent company named Muhammad Ali Pro Sports, AKA MAPS, said he was going to give me $5K (plus all expenses) to do some consulting on a live boxing card and the Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley fight, which he claimed promoter Bob Arum had given him the rights to air in a 15,000 seat arena in this Arab Emirates country.


According to the FBI, Smith/Fields took in excess of $20 million dollars, although Harold once told me that the real amount was a far greater sum. After spending nearly five years in jail, Smith/Fields or Fields/Smith never got back to the point of the early 80s where he had more world champions than Arum and Don King put together. Instead, he pulled off shows in China, Indonesia, Antigua, and the Los Angeles Forum. Harold didn’t have a smooth run in his second run as a promoter with mostly failing shows, one in Macao where the Police arrested and detained him afterwards for putting on a “fixed” fight involving a Chinese national who was a MMA icon.


Even though he shorted people on money, Harold/Ross was such a great con man that people like myself and Rob Russen continued to take Harold’s calls. Fast forward to the early part of the 21st century, circa 2001 or so, Harold instructed me to go the San Francisco Airport for a flight to Kuwait. When I got to the airport the airline informed me that while the reservation was made and I had a boarding pass, Smith never paid for ticket, thus I didn’t go to Kuwait. In fact, it would be eight years before I ever talked to Smith/Fields again.


In December 2010, I am at the airline counter of Arab Emirates Airlines, and there was no ticket. Again, I had a print out that Smith had sent me, but it was worthless. When I ripped into Smith/Fields in an email, he apologized, called me on the phone and in tears begged me for one more chance. The rescheduled date was now January 9, 2011. When I approached the Arab Emirates ticket counter this time they told me there was a problem with the ticket. At that point, I called the aforementioned Rob Russen, a Floridian that Harold approached to write a book on him. With Rob on the line, I went to the airline concierge who gave me a boarding pass. I asked her if the ticket was round trip and with Russen listening the woman said, “Yes, it is a round trip ticket.”


Having gotten sick on the airplane 90 minutes after takeoff, I spent more time in the bathroom on this 18-hour flight than I did my seat. Upon arriving in Dubai, I was met by Ross Fields Jr., a likable guy who is training horses for some rich Arabs. Prior to my arrival at the Hotel Moskow, Harold had told me this entire trip was paid for as payback for screwing me over on the Kuwait trip some eight years ago. So when the hotel asked me for a credit card, Harold said, “It’s just for the nightclub and any drinks you might want to have.”


When I first saw Harold, I realized how much he had aged since I last saw him. But that wasn’t as much of an eye opener as was his attire. Once a flashy dresser, Smith had a brown pair of pants that were torn to the point he had to wear his shirt untucked to cover up a large hole. I knew at that point that something was amiss, I mean the guy says he is rich and has but one pair of pants and is living out of a small suitcase. After a 20-minute visit to the nightclub/bordello in the hotel, I wanted to go to bed, alone. So imagine my surprise when Smith said he was staying with me, taking a blanket and sleeping on the floor.


My first full day in Dubai was uneventful, I wasn’t 100 %, but I was able to leave the hotel and go around town with Harold in a cab. Our second stop was another hotel, one in which Harold had one of his stooges staying. Sitting in the lobby, I saw the manager evicting Harold’s guy. At that point Smith/Fields comes over to me and says he needs $800 US. While I first refused, Smith wore me down with a promise that he would pay me back the next morning. I went to the ATM and gave Harold $400 US, this to keep his guy from being evicted.


I don’t know whether it was the food, influenza, or some other type of virus, but my health went south later that day. From that point forward, I spent the majority of my time in Dubai in bed. Not knowing what was happening to me health wise, I got worse. While I was asleep, Harold got my Mastercard out of my wallet and went to work with it. It appears his “stooge” had seen me enter my PIN code the day before and Harold used the card to charge the hotel room and other items.


Having been in bed for nearly five days, this included two trips to the hospital where they prescribed Valium thinking my problems were anxiety related. The only good thing I can say about Harold is that he stayed with me in the hospital both times. I was scheduled to leave on Friday, so I called the airline on Thursday to confirm my flight. It turns out, there was no return ticket and that United Arab Emirates Airlines had put me on the plane in San Francisco to avoid embarrassment as they didn’t want an international incident.


Without a return ticket, I asked Harold, “What the **** is going on?” Harold/Ross told me he had to cancel my ticket as he didn’t think I was ready to fly on Friday, this even though I had a radio and TV show to do in San Francisco on Saturday morning. “I moved it to next week,” said Smith. Feeling like I was being held hostage, I told Smith I wanted to leave right then and there. Sipping vodka, Harold told me that wasn’t happening. Having never been in that situation before, I was perplexed on how to proceed as I pictured myself dying in the Middle East.


Raising my voice and threatening Smith/Fields did me no good, as he turned on me like a hawk on a field mouse. A few hours later he returned and said nothing. Using my Magic Jack, I called my bank and told them to approve a one way ticket from Dubai to San Francisco, the charge was $1,600 U.S. Harold/Ross then told me the hotel was holding my credit card, that the charges were in excess of what they could take from the card, $400 a day. He told me that if I wanted to leave the hotel without the police being involved, I had to come up with $300 cash. Not knowing what to do, shell shocked, freaked out and still ill, I went to the ATM and gave Harold the cash to get out of the country sans being charged with, “Defrauding an Innkeeper.”


When I returned to the hotel to get my bags and checkout, Harold/Ross supposedly went to the front desk and paid them. Ten minutes later, I would realize it was all a scam as Smith/Fields directed me to bypass the front desk on the way out, instead taking me and my bags out through a side door the employees used. I wanted nothing more to do with Harold, as I told him I didn’t want him in the taxi, this as it pulled up on a side street to take me to the airport.


When I finally got on the plane, it was delayed 90 minutes, thus the 18 hour flight home would instead be closer to 20 hours. Still in shock over what had transpired over six days in Dubai, all I wanted to do was get the plane off the ground as I feared Harold had placed me in criminal peril by sneaking me out the side door of the hotel.


Having completed a run the day I left San Francisco, I was 168 lbs. When I stepped on the same scale upon my returning home, it read 156, the lightest I had been in years. But the nightmare that started on January 9 continued as the Hotel Moskow was taking money out of my account for almost another week. Staying in bed and recovering, I didn’t realize how much money Smith had fleeced me out of until I went to the ATM seven days after my return.


Expecting the money taken to be wired to me, Smith would call me almost daily on Skype and tell me to check with Western Union. I did that for about a week and then he told me in an email that the money was coming from New Zealand, where his accountant Gerald Hampton was staying. That went on for some ten days. Then he asked for my bank information so he could send it directly to the bank. Realizing I had been taken by one of history’s greatest con-men, I reached out to Rob Russen and when he approached Harold on it, Russen was rebuffed and told to mind his own business.


Refusing to engage Smith in the Yahoo Chat or take his calls after spending close to another $100 calling Dubai and begging for my money, Smith started sending me these emails with messages only in the subject area. “I’ll take care of you Monday,” or “The money will be there Friday.” This went on for another two months. I knew that if I were to write about this, it would turn out like Rob Russen had said, “You’ll never get paid,” so I just bit my lip and tried to go on with my life.


In February, Smith/Fields told me that if I flew to L.A. that his banker would bring me the money. I called the airline before calling the taxi and was told the reservation/ticket was never paid. Here are two of the emails the L.A. Lakers travel agent Dory Lewis sent me.

11 FEB 11 – FRIDAY


“I am waiting for payment which is supposed to be made by the end of the day. The ticket will be an e-ticket (electronic).”

Dory Lewis
Entertainment Travel Company


The Dubai Police are now awaiting an affidavit and bank statements that I will be sending them. They also told me I should notify the FBI, who know a lot about Harold seeing he was on their Top Ten Most Wanted list. Not being a snitch of sorts, Russen reiterated that I had no choice but to proceed down the path and try to get Smith/Fields prosecuted. Upon my talking to the Dubai officials, they were not enamored with the fact a convicted Felon was swindling people in their country. Although I realized that it might come to this, you have no idea how embarrassing this was for me to write.


He tried to get Rob Russen to go to Dubai, scheduling a number of flights for the retiree, none of which were ever paid. According to Russen, he too has told Harold he wants nothing to do with him. I know that he is working on doing the Manny Pacquiao-Shane Mosley fight on Closed Circuit or PPV next month in Dubai. As much as I despise Top Rank’s Bob Arum, who must be laughing his ass off as he reads this, if he was willing to **** me, Bob, what makes you think he won’t **** you or anybody else?

Pedro Fernandez


  • Pedro Fernandez

    Look for Mike on Facebook.

  • Mike Sedillo! Send me a email. Your sparring partner for your China fight. Georgejcksn4@gmail.com

  • I too have had dealings with Mr Smith in Dubai, i was the manager of a sports bar and he said he was bringing Thomas hearns and Larry Holmes to Dubai to do a press conference in my bar my boss , blocked 7 rooms for 3 days , all local media was involved , people from all over the UAE turned up to meet these legends and the excuses kept coming and coming and coming , in the end I looked like a fool and lost my job , Mr Smith then kind of looked after me by getting me food but it came at a price as I had to be on beck and call like some slave when ever he wanted me 2
    I then left Dubai and got a good job in Iraq where I was paid large amounts of money and this made Mr smiths eyes light up with $$$$ signs , i was called and asked to send $3000 to help him and some other dave out of a mess , when i declined he turned into a nasty old man who I never want to set eyes on again
    he is a cheat and a liar , the only thing he did was give me some money to send to my daughter and he held that against me , when it was his fault i had to leave my job !!! i always believe what goes around comes around
    A spell in a Dubai jail cell would be a good thing !!!!!

  • If you are in contact with Harold, ask him to contact me, Ed Franklin. My telephone number is the same, as before.He can write me at P.O. Box 67676, LA, CA 90067. There will be something in it for you too, for making the connection.

  • I worked for Harold for a number of years in the MAPS office during the 80’s. Stories of lies, deceipt, corruption are nothing. There’s plenty more that went on with Harold and the people he worked with, the people that worked for him and the leeches who were always looking for handouts. Unbelievable stuff that you’d only read in a fiction novel or see in a movie. Empire of Deceit is nothing. The writers really know nothing. They were not on the inside. A lot of assumptions in the book. Being on the inside and seeing what went on on a daily basis is really mind blowing!

  • Pedro Fernandez

    Thanks, Bruce.

  • Bruce Henderson

    Sounds like Harold is up to the same old tricks. I co-wrote EMPIRE OF DECEIT (Doubleday, 1985), all about Harold’s massive embezzlement of Wells Fargo Bank and his attempt to take over boxing. What amazes me is not this account by Pedro Fernandez, but that Pedro or Anyone still takes Harold at his word. He will one day start a new string of fibs on his death bed, I’m sure. It’s just in his DNA. By the way, EMPIRE OF DECEIT has been optioned for a feature film. One day the whole sordid tale may be on a big screen near you.

  • In my library I have the book “Empire of Deceit”/Dean Allison & Bruce B. Henderson

    The complete account of the Wells Fargo embezzlement story.

    I suggest you buy a copy and read it. It is a complete profile of this guy.

    Ross Fields/Harold Smith is such a prolific liar and con man he probably doesn’t

    believe himself when he talks. When you see this guy coming run the other way!

    Good luck 2 u all :)

  • I got a call from TV people in Dubai this week. Harold took them for a small amount of money. Said they last saw him sitting in front of a hotel with a suitcase with all his belongings. I won’t write about him unless the FBI & Interpol go after him for stealing money out of my bank account.

  • Hiding in Dubai. The FBI is looking into the matter and I will know more Tuesday.

  • where is he now????

  • first med fields when i worked in the montgomery county detention center, rockville md. thought he was a decent guy who was set up. Said he was personal friends with Sammy Davis jr. after reading all of the cemments about him, and really surprised that i did not fall into the scams. thank God. i did not have the money that other peple lost. Have often wondered thought about his paralyed girl friend Tina….I have to admit though that if what everyone is saying. this guy was good.

  • pedro sorry that happen to you.It also almost happen to me.I was suppose to be in dubai with you for a future promotional fight that i was promised to headline in dubai.I was promised training expenses,advanced moneys($$$)then harold smith wanted my personal checking account information.At that point a red flag flashed in front of me.i just stopped responding and knew something wasn’t right.Is harold so desperate that the friends he knew for years would be some type of target.hope not.pedro i have known you you for years and consider you as a real true friend.please call me or e-mail me if you get a chance,your friend and former 3-time champion.

  • Can’t believe that person is still outside of prison walls. To end up in that country it’s a wonder they haven’t cut off his hands for being a thief. Shame you had to go thru that. It was interesting reading about it.

  • Pedro….Fool me once,shame on you…Fool me twice…well you know the rest pal…sad really that these type off people can act with no shame,its happened to most of us some time or other,sit back and wait Pedro he’ll hit the kirb big time….

  • So that’s what happened last year…Glad everything turned out ok..or at least a lot better than what could’ve transpired!

  • Wow! Really felt bad what had happened to you and i thought you just got badly sick going over there. Did not know you got con and ripped off. We all live and learn from our experiece. Call your credit card company to let them know what had happened and you will be only responsible for only $50.00?

  • Guys like this usually end up dead before their time.

  • Sorry that happened to you Pedro, but that was one hell of a story! Pathological liars are tougher than people think to get rid of.

  • I have suggested this to you before here at this site Pedro, you should consider writing a book based on your boxing career, you experiences with fighters, and promoters. I’m sure it will be a best-seller, all of the die hard boxing fans will surely buy it.

    It’s good to see that you made it back ok, considering what you went through over there. As one of the posters mentioned, if you didn’t have the money necessary to pay for your flight and for the hotels, thing would have been a lot worse. I hope you get all your money back from that crook, Harold Smith. As for Smith, I’ve read several stories about him for years,like how he swindled millions from Wells Fargo, and how he used Muhammad Ali’s name to start that MAPS company.

  • I recommend not doing business with this person in the future…problem solved

  • ouch!

    I just had a contractor run off with a $700 down payment on materials. Keeps giving me excuses. This sonofabich has a kick in the dick coming nect time I see him

  • EPIC TALE! You have to be amazed at the inventive skills of habitual liars. There must be an easier way to make a buck–even working for it! But it’s also the shamelessness and persuasiveness; if a sharp-eyed observer and an ex-cop like you can be taken in again and again, like Charlie Brown trying to kick the football, this guy must have something on the ball, even in his torn pants! Check out the film “Catch Me If You Can.” Maybe Fox News can get him his own show, now that they’ve gotten rid of con-man Glen Beck.

  • WOW! Dude you got to write a book.That is crazy ,but look on the bright side Pedro you had the cash to pull out of the ATM an average joe may not have had made it back home!I hope you knock his ass out if you ever see him again.

  • thats mess up a guy like that deserves a betting,Don’t worry what he do to others will be done to him. he’ll get whats coming to him sooner or later,sad how poeple take advantage of other peoples trust.

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