If Tyson drops out, expect fast reshuffle

November 15, 1991|By Michael Katz | Michael Katz,New York Daily News

You never hear about the people with the slide rules and computers and buttoned-down minds who even now are hard at work on creating the NHL schedule for 1994-95.

A will play B, C will play D, then everyone from A to W gets in the playoffs.

Boxing is a bit more sophistica ted. The fans want Fighter A to confront Fighter B. He probably doesn't want to because he doesn't think he's good enough, but that's where the money is, so OK, but only if the pay-per-view does not conflict with a Madonna concert and the Las Vegas casinos aren't crowded with a convention of rubber duck salesmen.

Then, of course, Fighter A's promoter has to get along with the brother-in-law of Fighter B's bucket carrier, who owns the only pen in the family which can sign contracts.

No one, of course, would ever want the best fighters to meet without any intrigue.

Lucky for you, I'm in the mood to bring order to chaos.

The first question you want answered, undoubtedly, is whether Mike Tyson will get to fight Evander Holyfield.

The answer is a resounding maybe.

This much I can reveal. Remember, it was Don King who didn't want this match in the first place, not Holyfield's connections. Suffice it to say, both fighters want it. The problem is Tyson's ribs and Tyson's jury. The ribs will heal, but not before March. (And never mind the report going around Wednesday that he damaged the hand he broke against Mitch Green outside Dapper Dan's in 1988 -- it was dismissed as "just another rumor" by King publicist John Solberg, who couldn't flat-out deny it). Tyson's rape trial will start Jan. 27 or later.

If it's sooner, Tyson will be found guilty or not. If he's guilty, close the door. Holyfield then moves ahead with this "interesting dance card," according to Seth Abraham, who finds it especially interesting since he controls all the dancers:

(1) Francesco Damiani in eight days; (2) the winner of the Ray Mercer-Larry Holmes fight Feb. 7, probably sometime in April; (3) probably Lennox Lewis because all heavyweight champions deserve to feast on at least one Brit, and (4) the big one vs. Riddick Bowe, probably in the fall.

Of course, Dan Duva has his own interests and says if you scratch Tyson, "Evander's next fight [after Damiani] will be in March or April for the most money he can get."

That, he says, is hardly Ray Mercer, but Bowe or George Foreman. He said, "We have absolutely no interest in Larry Holmes, and Ray Mercer is not doing himself any favors by fighting him -- it's not going to bring him any closer to Evander."

He suggested Mercer, who has an Olympic gold medal and wins over Damiani and Tommy Morrison, go out and beat someone tough, like Bowe or Razor Ruddock or Tim Witherspoon or, ahem, one of two undefeated heavyweights Duva happens to promote -- Lewis and Michael Moorer.

So if Tyson doesn't fight again, there is still no definite order. It gets really convoluted if he makes it to the ring. Suppose he beats Holyfield. He either takes the title with him into prison, or is found not guilty and Don King takes the title into prison -- oops, forgot -- King's not on trial.

If Tyson wins and gets acquitted, Holyfield joins a long list of lucrative challengers, which include Foreman, whatever Time Warner youngsters can be lured away, Ruddock, Witherspoon and, don't laugh, a revitalized (that is, after another string of victories) Morrison.

Let's say Holyfield beats Tyson (no, folks, I'm not going to make any silly predictions or print results of a fantasy hockey league). Tyson gets either a rematch or a jail sentence. Holyfield gets either the rest of Abraham's dance card or a rocking chair for retirement.

Note: Moorer demanding WBO force Mercer to defend against him, its No. 1 ranked heavyweight, instead of 42-year-old grandfather. Never mind that Moorer being No. 1 is ludicrous, what does he want? Strip Mercer so he can fight No. 2, Ruddock? Michael, be smart. Shut up . . . Know what? Holmes COULD beat Mercer.

HURTING: Aaron Davis busted left thumb in only defeat, when he lost WBA welter title to Meldrick Taylor last January. He finally makes it to within days of comeback bout Tuesday night in Vegas, and he has an eye scratched. But docs say two weeks rest should be enough.

MONEY: Duva says Holyfield probably could make $20-25 million against Bowe or Foreman in March or April, giving both fighters a 5 percent buy rate on two million pay-per-view sets. First Holyfield-Foreman did 8.25 percent buy rate and Holyfield-Tyson looked like a 10 percent. Duva said Holyfield-Mercer buy rate would be three or four, which would translate into maybe $12 million payday for champ. And you studied hard in school?

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