King back in business, wins Lewis-Tucker bidNEW YORK...

February 05, 1993|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,Staff Writer

NEW YORK — King back in business, wins Lewis-Tucker bid

NEW YORK -- Promoter Don King, forced to take a back seat in boxing's power structure since the jailing of former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, was back in the spotlight yesterday after winning the purse bid for the Lennox Lewis-Tony Tucker World Boxing Council heavyweight match.

King outbid rival Dan Duva, of Main Events, Inc., in paying $12.16 million for the fight, only a reported $20,000 more than Duva's proposal.

King already has struck a deal with Steve Wynn, operator of The Mirage Hotel, to stage the bout May 8 at The Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, where Riddick Bowe dethroned then-undisputed champion Evander Holyfield last November.

When Bowe's manager, Rock Newman, balked at the WBC's demands that Bowe make his first title defense against Lewis, Bowe was stripped of his championship belt, and Lewis was named the organization's new champion without lifting a glove.

Bowe defends his World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation titles against unranked Michael Dokes at Madison Square Garden tomorrow night.

Duva, who has promotional rights to Bowe as well as Lewis, may now find himself in a new tug-of-war with King, who controls Tucker and is paying Lewis $9.2 million to fight him. This is more than $2 million more than Bowe is getting to rumble with Dokes.

Speaking of Dokes, he is seeking to raise his guaranteed $750,000 purse now that it appears the Garden is approaching a sellout of 18,000. Gross receipts have already reached a record $1,513,615 for a Garden event.

"Rock, you pulled a fast one on me," Dokes shouted at Newman during the final news conference Wednesday.

Added Dokes' adviser, Sterling McPherson, "We never expected the gross to be like this. We're going to sit down with Rock and talk."

Newman said that Dokes is already in a bonus-money situation )) that was promised if ticket sales exceeded 12,000. They passed the 15,000 mark yesterday.

Rumors have circulated the past few days that Dokes suspended training in New York after suffering a rib injury sparring Monday at the Times Square Gym against two amateur heavyweights.

The Dokes camp and Garden officials have denied any knowledge of an injury, "He's fine. He just took a day off [Wednesday] to keep from going stale. There's no crime in that," said McPherson.

Dokes was declared fit by New York State medical examiners at the pre-fight weigh-in yesterday when he scaled in at 244, a pound more than Bowe.

Comeback plans

Holyfield, who has cut his ties with Duva and Main Events and signed with rap star Hammer, is preparing to launch a comeback this summer.

"If I could get a rematch with Bowe, I'd love it," said the ex-champion. "He has most of the public support. If I could first get past Bowe, then I'd try to tackle Lewis."

Holyfield says he bears no malice toward Duva or former business manager Shelly Finkel. "My contract had ended, and, as an athlete, I realized I didn't control things even though I was doing the work."

Former trainer Lou Duva, who urged Holyfield to retire after he lost to Bowe, is puzzled by his behavior.

"We were all very close with Evander, and he made a great deal of money [more than $80 million] fighting for us. I wanted him to train a group of Olympians for us, and he seemed interested. At least, he owes us an explanation.

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