Boxing : Tyson Lucky He Isn't Through With Bill Cayton

Some interesting numbers came tumbling out of the Mike Tyson-Bill Cayton contract negotiations this week in New York.

Some background: On the very night Tyson knocked out Michael Spinks in one round at Atlantic City last month, the champion had papers served on Cayton, his manager, at ringside. Tyson had said publicly that he was "through with Bill Cayton," and that "Bill Cayton is gone."

Tyson, as a result of an out-of-court settlement worked out this week, isn't through with Cayton, nor is Cayton gone. Cayton is still his manager through 1992, but will receive substantially smaller portions of Tyson's huge income. His slice of Tyson's boxing purses dropped from 33% to 20%, for example.

And it was Tyson's 1987 income that came into sharp focus this week. Tom Puccio, Cayton's attorney, distributed something called a "notice of cross motion" to the press, which contained an itemized list of Tyson's assets and expenses, to Dec. 31, 1987.

Remember the Greek Theatre parking lot supervisor at whom Tyson threw a T-shirt and then slapped? Turns out it was a $105,000 slap. It's shown as a "lawsuit settlement" in the papers.

Tyson's 1987 gross income is shown as $7,056,082. His charitable contributions are shown as $8,226. Put your calculator away. It's less than 1%. A lot less.

New York tabloids giggled considerably over the revelation that Tyson's exotic automobiles were worth $241,007, yet his limousine bills for the year were $71,708. Turns out Mike doesn't like to drive from Catskill, N.Y., to New York City. So he calls for a limo.

The champion's assets as of Dec. 31, 1987--including several bank accounts, an investment brokerage cash-management account and a single-premium life insurance policy--were shown as $5,187,097.

Another item appeared to be a gift to his close friend, Rory Holloway. The line reads simply: "Rory. . . . $17,330."

Also this week, the New York Daily News reported that the $4-million New Jersey mansion that Tyson and his wife, Robin Givens, purchased recently had an assessed value of $970,000.

Tyson's 1987 income will pale, of course, next to 1988's. He earned $8-10 million for his fight against Tony Tubbs in Tokyo, and about $21 million from the 91-second fight against Spinks. Then there's the $26.3-million HBO contract, and another $4-6 million waiting when he decides to fight Frank Bruno.

Before his contract was re-tooled, Tyson got $600,000 of every $1 million that came into Mike Tyson, Inc.

And this is a guy who says he's been poorly managed.

From here, it looks as if Mike Tyson needs more of Bill Cayton, not less.

Actually, if there's a prominent fighter today who needs new management, it would seem to be Julio Cesar Chavez, the Mexican lightweight champion many in boxing consider the world's best fighter, pound for pound.

Chavez will appear on a Forum card Monday night when Albert Davila fights Miguel Lora for Lora's World Boxing Council bantamweight championship.

Chavez, for all his fame in Mexico and in the substantial Mexican-American boxing community in Southern California, has scored just about zilch in the endorsement market.

On KMEX, one of Los Angeles' Spanish-language TV stations, he appears in one commercial--for an East Los Angeles meat market. You can drive through East L.A. for hours and not see his face on a single billboard.

And what a face! Chavez's smile could light up a stadium. Magnetism? Charisma? This guy's got all the right stuff.

In the southwestern United States, Chavez is regarded by millions of Mexican-American sports fans as a near idol. He's perceived as being at least the equal of the many great Mexican champions of the past: Salvador Sanchez, Alfonso Zamora, Carlos Zarate, Raton Macias and, perhaps the greatest of them all, Ruben Olivares.

OK, so he doesn't speak English. But neither did Fernando Valenzuela in his first L.A. years, and Fernando made some billboards and picked up some endorsement money.

Hey, if boxing's Mr. Nasty, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, can cut a big deal with a deodorant company, Chavez ought to be good for at least a cerveza plug by a Southland beer distributor.

"I can't believe his people haven't aggressively pursued the Southern California endorsement market," said Danny Villanueva, president of KMEX.

"And the amazing thing is that some big corporations are looking hard right now for the right kind of spokesmen. Chavez is perfect. He's got the good looks, and he's so straight he's almost square. He should have an American manager, lining up endorsement deals."

Davila, the Pomona boxer who will fight for a bantamweight championship for the seventh time Monday at the Forum, had some interesting things to say about the heavyweight champion the other day.

He started the conversation by saying that in his opinion, Mexico's Julio Cesar Chavez is the world's greatest fighter, pound for pound.

But what about Tyson, Albert?

"We may never know how good Tyson really is," he said. "There's no heavyweight around who can bring a great effort out of him. You can't say he's the world's best fighter just because he knocked out (Tony) Tubbs and (Michael) Spinks quickly.

"Chavez, he's met a lot of great fighters, and he's risen to the occasion every time, like he did against (Edwin) Rosario. In the heavyweight division, until somebody good comes around who can bring out a maximum effort from Tyson, no one will know how good he really is."

The week's biggest non-story: The press conference called so that Michael Spinks, dressed in a tuxedo, could announce he was retiring from boxing.

Michael, this may come as a shock, but after your 91-second blowout by Tyson--for which you were paid $13.5 million--there are no great groundswells of public demand to see another Spinks fight.

Boxing Notes

Hank Johnson, the highly regarded U.S. Army boxing coach whose boxers performed so well at the Olympic trials, had a change of heart and accepted--after first refusing--the offer to be an assistant coach for the Olympic team, under Head Coach Tom Coulter. The second assistant coach is Larry Ramirez of Fontana.

Cable Promotions Partners of Inglewood announced this week that the Mike Tyson-Michael Spinks fight broke all pay-per-view records in Southern California. The group said the bout went into 14% of all addressable cable TV households in Southern California, compared to a 12% figure for the 1987 Marvin Hagler-Sugar Ray Leonard fight. However, there are 300,000 more addressable cable households--1.1 million--now than was the case for Hagler-Leonard.

The Tyrell Biggs-Francesco Damiani heavyweight bout has been delayed to Sept. 10, in Bari, Italy. Italian promoters hope Damiani can win, and jump into a title fight against Tyson, in Italy. . . . Mrs. Sugar Ray Robinson was recently named executive director of the Sugar Ray Robinson Youth Foundation, founded in 1969 to fund after-school sports programs. . . . Five boxers will be inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame on Oct. 29 at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott Hotel: Joey Maxim, Ingemar Johansson, Mando Ramos, Willie Pastrano and Enrique Bolanos.

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