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Deal with Arum could come on heels of Tyson victory

Posted on Thursday, July 29, 2004 @ 11:29:57 UTC by tricks
LOUISVILLE When Mike Tyson agreed last month to settle a seven-year-old, $100 million lawsuit he filed against Don King, his former promoter, it appeared that it might pave the way toward a reunion.

Bob Arum, left, and Don King share a laugh. Mike Tyson is
expected to strike a deal with Arum, shunning his former promoter.

However, that looks more and more unlikely now that Tyson is close to a deal with Top Rank's Bob Arum, King's archrival. If Tyson defeats England's Danny Williams here on Friday night (Showtime PPV, 9 ET, $44.95) at Freedom Hall in his first fight in 17 months, there is a three-fight offer with an option for a fourth fight waiting for him from Arum.

The deal, negotiated by Arum and Tyson manager Shelly Finkel over the past few weeks, is worth at least $80 million as long as Tyson, 38, keeps winning in the twilight of his career.

"We're in conversations and working through points," Arum told USA TODAY. "Shelly has been very cooperative. We hope to have a deal. We've accomplished a great deal so far." "There's an offer we've been talking about," Finkel said. "It's not definite yet."

Finkel said he is still weighing other offers but that Arum's was the most serious. If they go with Arum, the first fight would be in November or December. "In the end, if we're with Bob it would be great," Finkel said. "Bob is a great promoter, and if we can come to terms on certain things I am not happy with we would go with him.

"The things I'm not happy with are not economic. There are other issues. Hopefully it can work out. It would be nice to work with Bob."

Tyson, who faces Williams on a one-fight deal with Chris Webb's Straight Out Promotions, said he is open to fighting for Arum, who promoted a handful of his fights before he became the youngest heavyweight champ in history at 20.

"That's a possibility," Tyson said. "I need some money, so maybe if he gives me a good price I'll work with him."

The deal would solidify Tyson's path to paying off $38 million in debt much faster than a projected seven-fight, three-year plan laid out in a recent reorganization plan filed in U.S. bankruptcy court.

Arum's offer is a surprise. He has been a vocal critic of Tyson, saying he'd never involve himself with Tyson and calling him "deranged." However, Arum, famously quoted as saying, "Yesterday I was lying, today I am telling the truth," said he's had a change of heart.

"My position is clear," said Arum, whose company is the subject of an ongoing investigation of its business practices. "The Mike Tyson I was talking about then, I wouldn't have promoted, and I didn't think he should be licensed," Arum said. "I thought there were serious problems there. Now this Mike Tyson, for a period of time, has been talking well and acting well, and people that I have great confidence in and faith in, like (trainer) Freddie Roach (a former Top Rank fighter), are telling me he is a new man with a new attitude."

Bruce Trampler, Arum's matchmaker and most trusted boxing adviser, visited Tyson at his Phoenix training camp and "confirmed what Freddie says," Arum said. "I look at it like 'Does it makes sense for us to do this at this stage?' I say yes. If he had acted like he did before, I would have said no.

"I'm willing to accept what people I trust are telling me about Mike and hope that I am not disillusioned. If I had judged people on past behavior, I wouldn't have promoted George Foreman's comeback. I did, and it worked out marvelously."

Arum said his plan would be to get Tyson fights vs. opponents such as fringe contender and ex-cruiserweight champ Vassiliy Jirov and light heavyweight champ Antonio Tarver, who began calling out Tyson after knocking out Roy Jones.

Eventually, he'd like Tyson to challenge champ Vitali Klitschko, the only one of the four heavyweight titleholders not controlled by King.

Source: usatoday.com

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