A HEAVYWEIGHT title fight between Evander Holyfield and George Foreman is in the works -- if Holyfield dethrones undisputed champion Buster Douglas on Oct. 25 and Foreman continues to knock over an almost monthly procession of second-rate opponents.
According to promoter Bob Arum, "an agreement in principle" for such a fight has been reached, as long as the two heavyweights keep up their ends of the bargain.
"We haven't signed anything yet, but we've agreed to the terms," Arum said. "Of course, it's not done until it's done."
"Arum's deal is a good one," said Dan Duva, Holyfield's promoter, who met with Arum Friday at Holyfield's training camp in Reno, Nev. "Of course, Don King could still come along with a better one, and Arum knows that."
The very thought of Foreman getting a title shot was laughable in March 1987, when he announced he was resuming his career after a 10-year retirement. The 42-year-old, 265-pound country preacher has won 23 fights, 22 by knockout, since and is considered the most financially attractive opponent in the division despite having beaten only one ranked fighter, Brazil's Adilson Rodrigues. Tonight, Foreman (68-2, 64 KOs) pockets $250,000 to fight journeyman Terry Anderson (19-3, 17 KOs) in a 10-round bout at the London Arena.
According to sources, Holyfield and Foreman would split approximately $32 million in purse money, with Holyfield getting 60 percent, or $19 million. For the Douglas fight, Holyfield is being paid $8 million to Douglas' $24 million. And the proposed Holyfield-Foreman deal is said to have alternate provisions if Douglas beats Holyfield.
"I haven't discussed the terms with Evander yet," Duva said, "But I think he would agree to them."
Such an agreement -- and a Holyfield victory -- would leave former champ Mike Tyson on the outside of the heavyweight picture, at least temporarily. Recently, there had been talk of a Foreman-Tyson bout that would have paid Foreman $14 million, but Foreman said negotiations fell apart two weeks ago.
"It was strange, because we were pretty close to making that boxing match," Foreman said. "Then the next thing you know, Tyson goes back into his hole, and [Tyson's promoter] Don King makes himself unavailable to me."
Tyson, the No. 2 contender who lost his title to Douglas on a 10th-round KO in February, is scheduled to fight Alex Stewart on Dec. 8 in Atlantic City. If Douglas beats Holyfield, he is expected to give Tyson a rematch in early 1991. If Holyfield wins, he would not have to fight Tyson for a year.
"King has already stated he would pressure [WBC president] Jose Sulaiman to force the winner to fight Tyson next," Duva said. "But we're going to make the best deal for Evander regardless of what Don King or anybody else says."