Ruddock to Step Aside for Holyfield-Tyson

From Staff and Wire Reports

A spokesman for promoter Don King said Wednesday night that Razor Ruddock has agreed to pull out of his June 28 rematch with Mike Tyson in Las Vegas, clearing the way for a fight between Tyson and heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield.

"Donovan (Razor) Ruddock has agreed to step aside and agreed to let Mike Tyson fight Evander Holyfield for the undisputed heavyweight championship of the world," spokesman Joe Safety said in a statement. "Consequently, the Tyson-Ruddock fight . . . has been postponed."

King--the promoter for Tyson--and Holyfield's manager, Dan Duva, and Holyfield adviser Shelly Finkel, apparently came to an agreement in Orlando Wednesday night, where they were attending a cable television convention.

No date or site has been set for the bout.

Tyson and Holyfield had signed to fight last June 18, but Tyson then lost his championship to Buster Douglas in Japan. Holyfield won the title last October when he knocked out Douglas in Las Vegas.

When Holyfield signed to defend his title against George Foreman instead of Tyson, King and World Boxing Council President Jose Sulaiman began lobbying for support to have Holyfield stripped of the WBC's version of the championship. That way, Tyson would stand to earn a larger share of what is projected as a $100-million fight because Holyfield-Tyson would have been a unification fight.

The King-WBC-Duva beef was submitted to arbitration. Holyfield, meanwhile, won an April 29 decision over Foreman in Atlantic City.

The Holyfield-Foreman fight grossed $48.6 million on pay-per-view revenue alone, topping the $38.6 million for Holyfield-Douglas. Holyfield-Tyson, promoters say, would easily top the Holyfield-Foreman gross.

The Tyson-Ruddock fight was to be a rematch of the controversial March 18 bout in which Tyson was awarded a seventh-round TKO by referee Richard Steele in what many observers thought was a premature stoppage. A post-fight melee followed in the ring, for which Ruddock's promoter, Murad Muhammad, was suspended for one year by the Nevada Athletic Commission and fined $25,000.

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