February 15, 1998 in Sports

Tyson Makes Move To Shove His Problems Out Of His Life

Steve Springer Los Angeles Times

It was one of the most impressive moves of Mike Tyson’s career.

And it didn’t even come in the ring.

It came in a limousine parked outside a Beverly Hills, Calif., hotel several weeks ago. Promoter Don King, trying to get into the limo and remain close to Tyson and his multimillion-dollar earning potential, was shoved out onto the pavement by the former undisputed heavyweight champion, who appears to have finally had it with the man some accuse of stealing Tyson blind.

So has he finally cut the umbilical cord with King, the man who played a central role in making Tyson the richest draw in sports?

Probably, but not yet. Not officially.

Attorney John Branca, nephew of Ralph, the former Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher, is representing Tyson. He said the fighter is reassessing his career but has not made a final decision on King.

The only action Tyson has taken, according to Branca, is to fire one of his managers, John Horne. The other manager, Rory Holloway, may also get the ax, but he remains close to Tyson as a friend.

Tyson’s problems began with a loss to Evander Holyfield in November 1996.

That seemed like the end of Tyson’s world at the time.

But as it turned out, it was just the first step on a bizarre, destructive downhill journey for Tyson, who seems to have forever lost the luster he once enjoyed as the world’s best fighter.

Last June came the still-hard-to-believe rematch with Holyfield, which ended with Tyson disqualified and Holyfield with a piece of his ear on the canvas.

Tyson was suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for at least a year for biting Holyfield.

But even that wasn’t the end of Tyson’s problems. He subsequently punctured a lung and broke a rib in a motorcycle accident.

Sources close to Tyson claim he has since discovered that his handlers, King included, took half of his $30 million purse from the second Holyfield fight.

On top of that, Tyson owes $7 million in taxes.

The blows just keep on coming.

Nobody is going to feel sorry for him. Nor should they. He was too arrogant when he was on top to gain any sympathy now that he’s on the bottom. And he either caused his problems or at least allowed them to happen.

But what now?

King, who has proved harder to dislodge than Saddam Hussein, isn’t giving up his pipeline to Tyson without a fight.

“I love Mike Tyson,” said King in a statement, “and he knows it … but we’ll work through (the problems) because our common goal is to get Mike back to training and into the ring again.”

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