Only tales about President Clinton's personal life can
draw as much attention from the press as rumors about Mike Tyson.
Industry executives last week were contemplating the
long-term implications of the latest Tyson reports, which have him splitting with longtime
promoter Don King and looking for more than a one-shot deal as a 'performer' for
TitanSports Inc.'s World Wrestling Federation outfit.
Tyson, who appeared before a hoard of boxing and
entertainment press last week to tout his appearance at the March 29 Wrestlemania XIV
event, refused to discuss the reported King spilt. But published reports have Tyson
splitting from King over mismanagement of the fighter's multimillion-dollar boxing
Published reports also have Tyson dropping his two
co-managers, Rory Holloway and John Horne, and acting as his own promoter/manager.
Tyson, however, is still under contract with King, as well
as with Showtime Networks Inc., for at least four fights, so if he looks to fight
elsewhere, he could face legal problems.
'If King was threatening to tie up Muhammad Ali for
years over contracts, why wouldn't he do that with Tyson?' asked one boxing
observer. 'Tyson will end up with King again.'
Showtime last week would only say that 'all of the
stories concerning Mike Tyson are based on unsubstantiated rumors. If Tyson should return
to the boxing ring, we're certain that Mike will fulfill his contractual obligation
and continue his career with Showtime.'
Representatives from King could not be reached at press
One thing that Tyson did clear up is his status with
Wrestlemania. Tyson will remain on the outside of the ring and act as an
'enforcer' for the title match between 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin and
Shawn Michaels, said Vince McMahon, chairman of the WWF. If a problem should arise in the
ring, Tyson has the option of entering the ring to restore order, he added.
While McMahon would not project how much Tyson's
appearance at Wrestlemania would boost buys, he did predict that the event will perform
Tyson was also vague about his future with the WWF if the
event is a success or if he can't get his boxing license back in July from the Nevada
Athletic Commission. The commission suspended Tyson's license for life after Tyson
bit Evander Holyfield's ear during a fight in June, but he can apply for
reinstatement this summer.
Boxing analyst Anthony Paige said Tyson could easily leave
the boxing ring for wrestling if the price is right.
'If Showtime will give him $20 million for the fight,
and McMahon gives him $20 million, why wouldn't he consider wrestling? It's more
of a controlled environment, and there's less chance of injury in the WWF,'