Record purse is not enough, Tyson insists $65 million in three fights only makes him hungrier

March 23, 1996|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,SUN STAFF

The record $30 million purse he received for dispatching World Boxing Council heavyweight champion Frank Bruno in less than three rounds last Saturday apparently was not enough to satisfy Mike Tyson.

Piqued by criticism that he was earning too much for his brief scuffles with Peter McNeeley, Buster Mathis and Bruno since his prison release a year ago, Tyson told boxing writers in a phone conference yesterday, "There is no one who is going to draw like I draw. Other people contribute to it, but I'm just saying, 'Give me more money, I'm entitled to it.' "

In his three comeback bouts, Tyson has grossed $65 million while fighting less than seven rounds. Bruno, despite holding the title, received only a $6 million guarantee, and complained bitterly about the purse inequity.

"I didn't whine before the fight or demand more money," Tyson said. "But I'm complaining now. No one gives a damn about me. I've got a short life span as a fighter, and I'm not getting my fair share."

There have been rumors that Tyson was dissatisfied with the way Don King has handled his fight negotiations and may be seeking a separation. But Tyson reiterated yesterday, "Don King is my promoter."

However, at a post-fight news conference in Las Vegas on Sunday, Tyson's co-manager, John Horne, said, "Don King does not have a long span left as a promoter."

Some chose to interpret this brief remark as a sign of a power struggle. Others saw it as merely suggesting that King, at 63, eventually will have to play a less dominant role in professional boxing.

In previous interviews, Horne has insisted that he and Rory Holloway, a longtime friend of Tyson's, are not proxy managers.

"Don never hired Rory and me or paid us anything," said Horne. "We have great respect for Don King, but the fact of the matter is that he has never been a priority when it comes to me and Rory. Mike Tyson is our only interest."

It was King who negotiated an exclusive $15 million multi-fight deal with the MGM Grand to be host to six Tyson bouts, plus a $20 million, six-bout package with Showtime.

In turn, King received an interest-free $15 million loan to buy 618,557 shares of MGM stock. MGM guaranteed King the stock would be worth $30 million by the time the deal expires in September 1997, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Since King struck this deal, almost the entire top management of the MGM Grand has left, including chairman Robert Maxey and president Larry Wolfe.

Casino statistics showed that the hotel did not increase profits in staging the McNeeley fight last August and incurred added expenses.

Tyson's next appearance at the MGM Grand is tentatively scheduled for July 13, but no opponent has been named.

Pub Date: 3/23/96

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