Last-ditch attempt by King fails to send Foreman-Holyfield II to canvas Boxing notebook

July 10, 1991|By Wallace Matthews | Wallace Matthews,Newsday

Evander Holyfield and George Foreman are likely to meet in a rematch Nov. 8 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas -- now that a last-ditch effort by promoter Don King to make a Holyfield-Mike Tyson fight has failed.

Holyfield's promoter, Dan Duva, and manager, Shelly Finkel, met yesterday at the New York offices of Home Box Office with Foreman promoter Bob Arum and adviser Ron Weathers to hammer out details for a reprise of their April 19 bout, which was won by Holyfield. According to Finkel,an agreement was reached calling for roughly the same financial arrangement as in the first bout -- guarantees of $20 million for Holyfield and $12.5 million for Foreman. "It looks good for the rematch," Finkel said yesterday, shortly after a three-hour meeting with the Foreman camp. But nothing was signed, because Team Holyfield then rushed off to the Parker Meridien Hotel for a 6:30 p.m. meeting with King and WBC president Jose Sulaiman. It broke up close to 11 p.m., with no agreement reached.

"Don made his proposal, but nothing's changed," Finkel said last night. "He says now he wants to make a deal, but I don't trust him. He was a little more realistic than he has been, but he has nothing else now."

Lately, it has seemed a Holyfield-Tyson fight agreement was impossible because of the personal and professional differences between King and Duva and Finkel. The two sides have squabbled over the purse split -- King wants 50-50 and the Holyfield side wants a more traditional 75-25 in favor of the champion -- and over who would hold promotional rights to the winner's future fights. But now, with Foreman having spurned Tyson to fight Holyfield again, it appeared that the champion's camp had gained leverage over Tyson and King.

Finkel said the final decision would be made by Holyfield, who is in Hawaii judging a basketball slam-dunk competition sponsored Michael Jordan. Finkel expected to speak with Holyfield last night and to meet again with the Foreman camp this afternoon, at which time it is expected that the rematch will be officially agreed to.

"It's nothing that can't be worked out," Arum said. "The deal is very, very close."

* Another heavyweight title fight was announced yesterday -- WBO champion Ray Mercer (17-0, 12 KOs) facing Tommy Morrison (28-0, 24 KOs), the co-star of "Rocky V," on Aug. 9 in Atlantic City. The winner originally was expected to meet Holyfield in November for the real title, but with Tyson and Foreman back in the title hunt, that prospect appears to be off.

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