NEW YORK, AP
How about Tyson vs. Lewis with nothing but pride and big purses at stake? Well, it seems Iron Mike is game. “Yes, he would consider fighting Lewis without a title at stake,” said Shelly Finkel, Tyson’s adviser. Neither of the dueling cable networks, HBO nor Showtime, is talking, but it seems they’ve been talking about it to each other. Perhaps a joint pay-per-view venture. “They have discussed it, but everything depends on June 11,” Finkel said Wednesday.. On June 11 a trial on two separate lawsuits is scheduled to begin before Judge Miriam Sedarbaum in U.S. District Court in New York. Don King and Hasim Rahman are being sued for tortious interference and breach of contract by Cedrick Kushner, who contends he has a contract with Rahman. Rahman won the WBC-IBF heavyweight titles on a fifth-round knockout of Lennox Lewis on April 22 in South Africa. He signed a contract with King on May 10 because, the fighter later said, “He gave me the best deal.” Lewis has sued King, Rahman and the champion’s managers because there was a rematch clause in the Lewis-Rahman fight contracts. Lewis contends he should get an immediate rematch. Meanwhile, the WBC agreed in a stipulation filed in U.S. District Court on May 10 not to give championship sanction to an immediate Rahman-Lewis rematch. In turn, Tyson dropped a suit against the WBC. “I would like to see Rahman be able to fight Tyson, with the winner fighting Lewis,” Kushner said. King wants Rahman to fight Brian Nielsen of Denmark as part of a heavyweight championship doubleheader with John Ruiz’s IBF title defense against Evander Holyfield on Aug. 5 at Beijing. Should King get his way and Rahman beat Nielsen, who is anything but a great Dane, Rahman would have to make a WBC mandatory defense in November. As No. 1 contender, Tyson is in line for that mandatory fight, but has said he will not fight on a King promotion. He is suing King for close to US$100 million. Should Kushner get his way, he would want Rahman-Tyson on HBO, the network he deals with. Rahman currently is not signed with either HBO or Showtime, which would block Tyson fighting Rahman for HBO. So let’s have Lewis vs. Tyson. “It would seem to me that they are not the two best fighters in the world,” Kushner said. “One of them getting knocked out in his last fight is indicative that he is not one of the best.” Kushner, however, admitted, “commercially, Tyson Lewis might be the biggest fight.” Perhaps Lewis would want to get a title back before fighting Tyson. It’s understandable that he would want to prove his loss to Rahman was a fluke. A bigger reason might be that a championship would be a negotiating chip for Lewis. If they fight with no titles at stake, Tyson holds the winning negotiating hand. He is a much bigger gate attraction than Lewis. Still, they would make much more money fighting each other than anyone who holds a piece of the title. Another reason to make the fight now is that Lewis’ loss to Rahman might not have been that much of a fluke. After all, he will turn 36 on Sept. 9. Tyson, whose cloak of invincibility was stripped from him some time ago, will become 35 on June 30.