Trouble brewing over date for Tyson

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The Independent Online

There is a heavyweight showdown brewing - and it is not just between two fighters. Of all the dates promoters could have picked for the Riddick Bowe-Evander Holyfield rematch, they chose 4 November at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

That just happens to be the same date Don King has picked for Mike Tyson's second comeback fight, scheduled to take place just down the Las Vegas strip at the MGM Grand. Both attractions would seem to be television marketing bonanzas - a third showdown between Bowe and Holyfield and Tyson's next step back after three years in prison - but on the same night?

According to Marc Ratner, executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, the 4 November date was requested by Rock Newman, Bowe's manager, on 14 July. Two days later, King requested the same date. Ratner said commission policy would allow both fights to go ahead.

However, the real duel is between the rival promoters and pay television outlets - SET for the Tyson fight and TVKO for Bowe-Holyfield. The question is which camp will blink first. King swears it won't be his side.

"We will not surrender at any cost," he said. "If we suffer on this fight and on this date, so be it. We had the date first and we will not be bullied."

According to Tyson's manager, John Horne, SET reserved the date earlier with distributors and made it clear months ago that Tyson would fight that day.

"TVKO, with advance knowledge, knowingly created this scheduling conflict," McAdory Lipscomb, executive vice-president and general manager of SET, said. "We will not move off this date. It's a travesty for the consumer to have to make a choice only because one greedy company decided to rob the viewer by choosing a date that had already been secured for Mike Tyson's second fight."

Bowe addressed the conflict in scheduling by saying: "I don't care if we fight Christmas Day as long as I fight Evander Holyfield." He was so anxious to fight Holyfield that he agreed to relinquish his World Organisation title - a precondition set by his opponent.

"Ever since the second fight I've been dying to fight Evander Holyfield again. I was given the opportunity and I had to make a choice. Do I follow my dream or just fight a challenger who really doesn't mean that much? Holyfield brings the best out of me. I want Evander Holyfield. I owe him one," Bowe said.