It will take an unlikely set of circumstances, but the possibility exists that unbeaten Maryland heavyweight Riddick Bowe could find himself challenging champion Evander Holyfield for his undisputed title Nov. 8 in Las Vegas.
Bowe's manager, Rock Newman, discussed this scenario yesterday in a conference call from Trump Plaza in Atlantic City, N.J., where Bowe (25-0, 22 knockouts) is scheduled to fight Bruce Seldon (18-1, 15 KOs) in a TVKO pay-per-view bout tomorrow.
According to Newman, Bowe could gain the Holyfield match by default if his scheduled opponent, Mike Tyson, facing possible grand jury indictment in Indianapolis on a rape charge, is forced to withdraw.
The next likely title challenger, George Foreman, is recuperating from a knee injury that led him to cancel his $5 million HBO bout against journeyman Boone Pultz on Sept. 7.
"Tyson is a ticking time bomb," said Newman.
Yesterday, Rosie Jones, 27, of Bridgeport, Conn., who was Miss Black America in 1990, filed a $100 million suit in Manhattan against Tyson, whom she accused of fondling her buttocks at the Indiana Black Expo in Indianapolis on July 18, the same day he allegedly raped an 18-year-old beauty contestant.
"He [Tyson] is a man who beats on women," Jones' attorney, Irving Pinsky, told reporters outside the federal courthouse. "We're going to get him for everything he's worth."
Newman said, "If neither Tyson or Foreman can fight Holyfield Nov. 8, then Riddick [rated No. 3 by the International Boxing Federation] would be next in line."
That would suit Bowe's trainer, Eddie Futch, just fine.
"Boxing is mostly a matter of styles, and I think Holyfield is a much easier fight for Riddick than Tyson would be," Futch said. "I just think that Riddick [6 feet 5, 230 pounds] has a tremendous physical advantage over Evander, who is always there to be hit.
It could all be wishful thinking. Kathy Duva, publicist for Holyfield, said yesterday that there was little likelihood Tyson would not fight Holyfield in November.
Said Duva, whose husband, Dan, serves as Holyfield's promoter: "Even if Tyson is indicted in Indianapolis this week, it is unlikely he will go to trial before next year. It should not jeopardize the fight.
"We're proceeding with the promotion as if everything is status quo. At this point, any mention of a Holyfield-Bowe fight is strictly unilateral."
Tickets for the Holyfield-Tyson match scheduled for Caesars Palace have sold out.
Selling Bowe vs. Seldon has been far more difficult. This fight was the fallout of two previously scheduled TVKO bouts that began as Ray Mercer vs. Tommy Morrison. It became Mercer against Bowe when Morrison suffered an eye injury in training last month.
A week later, Mercer was shelved by a foot injury, leading to Bowe's match with Seldon.