PHILADELPHIA -- In case you missed it, former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson is involved in serious negotiations for a June fight with rising prospect Riddick Bowe. Tyson's promoter, Don King, is scheduled for another round of meetings this week with Bowe's manager, Rock Newman, and a deal could be struck then.
The matchup would be contingent on Bowe getting past a March 2 fight with Tyrell Biggs at Harrah's Marina in Atlantic City, and on Tyson beating Donovan "Razor" Ruddock March 18 at The Mirage in Las Vegas.
"I can dust [Tyson's] butt off," the ever-talkative Bowe boasted while in Atlantic City recently. "I hope Rock can make the match. I'd love the opportunity to expose Mike again [a reference to Tyson's loss against James "Buster" Douglas]."
It has been suggested by one New York boxing writer that Tyson, through King, has plotted a strategy that would involve his eliminating big-money opponents from the pool available to undisputed heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield. Holyfield, who takes on George Foreman on April 19 in Atlantic City Convention Hall, embarked on a similar course before he won the title from Douglas, hoping to force then-champion Tyson into the ring with him. Among the fighters Holyfield defeated, and thus took away from Tyson, were Michael Dokes and Adilson Rodrigues.
Holyfield's promoter, Dan Duva, said the notion that Tyson is playing turnabout-is-fair-play is ridiculous.
"When we did that, it was because Tyson wouldn't agree to fight us," Duva said. "We have never said we wouldn't fight Tyson. All they have to do is ask and that fight will be made. We're anxious to fight Tyson."
Duva said he couldn't understand why Tyson would waste such lucrative opponents as Ruddock and Bowe in non-title fights.
"All he's doing is eliminating people he could fight himself for bigger purses as the champion," Duva said. "By fighting them now, he's basically saying he doesn't think he can beat Evander."
* UNDERCARD HEAVEN: Tyson-Ruddock might or might not be more attractive than Holyfield-Foreman, but a top-notch undercard sometimes can spell the difference between profit and loss in the high-risk world of pay-per-view television.
With that in mind, King has assembled possibly his best undercard ever for the March 18 show: Julio Cesar Chavez will defend his World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation junior welterweight titles against John Duplessis; Simon Brown puts his IBF welterweight crown on the line in a unification showdown with WBC champ Maurice Blocker; and Roberto Duran ends a 15-month period of inactivity by taking on Pat Lawlor.
* IDOL BASHING: It makes for a great story that 9-year-old Terry Norris saw Sugar Ray Leonard win the gold medal in the 1976 Olympics and was so inspired that he decided to become a fighter himself.
It's a great story, but not a true one.
Norris, 23, who defends his WBC super-welterweight championship against Leonard Feb. 9 in Madison Square Garden, admits to having idolized Leonard, 34, since first catching his act on television in the Olympics. But had Leonard not come along, it's a virtual certainty Norris would have turned to boxing anyway.
His father, Orlin Norris Sr., is a former heavyweight who had taken both Terry and his older brother, Orlin Jr., now a fringe heavyweight contender, into the gym at an early age to teach them the manly art of self-defense.