On the morning after former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson knocked out Alex Stewart in the first round, promoter Don King settled two questions:
--Tyson next will fight Razor Ruddock.
--Tyson will sign a long term pay-per-view deal with Showtime Event Television that will pay the boxer $120 million.
Tyson’s 2-minute, 27-second knockout of Stewart was the last of eight fights for which HBO paid Tyson $27.1 million in a deal signed in 1987. On Sunday, King said Showtime Event Television had agreed to the “eight- to 10-fight” deal.
Last week, two-year-old negotiations for a renewal of the HBO-Tyson deal, said to be worth $85 million, broke up. Scott Kurnit, president of Showtime Event Television, agreed he and King had agreed on a deal, but wouldn’t confirm King’s $120-million figure.
Ruddock, also impressive Saturday in a one-round knockout of outclassed Mike Rouse in Atlantic City Convention Hall, might fight Tyson this spring for a piece of the heavyweight championship. The World Boxing Council had threatened to strip Evander Holyfield of its championship if Holyfield fought George Foreman before fighting Tyson.
Holyfield’s promoter, Dan Duva, obtained a temporary restraining order preventing the WBC from taking Holyfield’s title, and the WBC and Holyfield’s people have since agreed to submit their dispute to the American Arbitration Assn.
Tyson-Ruddock, King said, would be held in late March or early April, which would it within weeks of Holyfield-Foreman. In addition, Trump Plaza executive Bernie Dillon said Sunday his hotel might wind up with both shows.
However, King said he expected Tokyo promoter Akahiko Honda to bid for the fight, along with Caesars Palace.
King’s pay-per-view adviser, Rick Kulis of Los Angeles, said both junior-welterweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez and former welterweight champion Roberto Duran had agreed to appear on the Tyson-Ruddock card.
King said Tyson’s multi-fight Showtime deal would be part of weekly, King-promoted boxing shows on Showtime, with a monthly pay-per-view show featuring title fights.
There was some talk Sunday that gross pay-per-view receipts from Tyson-Ruddock might challenge those of Holyfield-Foreman. Tyson said he was willing to go head-to- head.
“Let’s go on (Tyson-Ruddock) at the same time, same day,” he said. “Let’s just see which fight makes more money.”
Tyson’s drawing power, apparently, remains unmatched in boxing. He filled the Atlantic City Convention Hall Saturday night, with a paying crowd of 17,211.