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UPDATE ON TYSON’S NEXT: Tyson Takes Aim At Triller, Triller Counters, Now Team Holyfield Weighs In

Michael Woods

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Boxing is a younger man and women's game.

In the last four days, there’s been some quite public movement regarding Mike Tyson, and his next fight, and who might produce and promote it, as well as who he might be fighting.

The 54 year old Brooklyn native on Thursday took to Instagram. On his account, a message went out (see below), with the intent seeming to be that he (or he and his team) wished to advertise that he’d not be working with Triller, the company he aligned with for the Nov. 28, 2020 exhibition promotion against Roy Jones. That event screened on pay per view, garnered around 1.6 million buys and attracted perhaps $100 million in PPV revenue.

Then, on Sunday night, a story I wrote ran on RING’s website. Triller’s legal team has sent out alerts to various cable and satellite companies, platforms and broadcast corporations, informing them that Triller asserts they have the right to accept or pass on being the main producer/promoter/marketer for the next Tyson fight. And, if that isn’t hashed out, that contractual reality isn’t adhered to, then any Tyson fight that might be planned for May 29, or whenever, would not be kosher.

On Monday, another shoe dropped. A release went out from reps for Evander Holyfield, the 58 year old ex cruiser and heavyweight champ, who battled Tyson in 1996 and 1997, winning by TKO11 and via disqualification.

MIKE TYSON REJECTS $25,000,000 GUARANTEE TO FIGHT EVANDER HOLYFIELD AT HARD ROCK STADIUM IN MIAMI ON MAY 29th

MIAMI (March 22, 2021) – Representatives of Evander Holyfield expressed frustration after Mike Tyson’s representatives refused to accept a $25,000,000 guarantee from Team Holyfield to participate in Tyson v Holyfield 3 at the Hard Rock Stadium to kick off Memorial Day weekend. The parties have been in intense negotiations for several months and Team Holyfield sincerely believed a deal was imminent, especially after the Hard Rock threw its support behind the project, and there were multiple other offers conveyed to Team Tyson. However, Team Tyson’s demands recently became untenable, and not what Mike Tyson had originally agreed on in direct conversations with Holyfield.

The event was to occur at the beautiful Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins NFL franchise, Super Bowl games, and many other world class sporting events and entertainment, and would have been the ideal setting for the trilogy finale of this great rivalry between two of the greatest legends in the history of boxing. While neither side has announced publicly that the fight is not going to happen, with negotiations at a standstill and the date rapidly approaching, it seems unlikely that this fight will occur as planned.

“We thought this was a done deal but it quickly fell apart when Tyson’s people declined all offers,” said Kris Lawrence, Evander Holyfield’s manager. “We were negotiating in good faith all along and it appears we just ended up wasting our time.” 

Leon Margules, an attorney and fightgame lifer, has been working on the Holyfield-Tyson fight for a few months, and, he said, he only learned Monday morning that Team Triller insists they own certain rights on the next Tyson fight. “I’ve been negotiating since early January,” said Margules, who has been toiling on behalf of Holyfield. The above release got written before word started spreading that Triller  has informed platforms and possible distributors that they have the option to opt in on the next Tyson fight, or choose to take a pass on Tyson’s next in-ring gig, Margules shared.

He told NYF that it’s his understanding that Evander and Tyson did a phone call, and agreed to a 50-50 split. But as talks progressed, Margules began to understand that the parties weren’t perhaps on the same page regarding the definition of a 50-50 split. Margules worked on the deal terms for the 2016 Charles Martin versus Anthony Joshua bout, and AJ’s promoter Eddie Hearn supplied updates on expenses and revenue generation, offering transparency. Ideally, that’s how such negotiations proceed; but on Monday late afternoon, Margules made clear his dealings in trying to hash out terms for Tyson-Holyfield 3 hadn’t been imbued with the same ethos.

In his mind, the bout’s value is greater because of the sum of the parts, because of the history Tyson and Holyfield have had. That’s why, Margules continued, he feels confident in the 50-50 construct. Also, backers felt confident they would do good business, that’s why he told Tyson reps that the Holyfield side would put $25 million in an escrow account, as Mike’s guarantee for the third face-off.

There’s been no response we’ve seen from Tyson and company, about that $25 million guarantee, or regarding the Triller stance that Tyson’s crew is obligated to inform Triller about the A to Z on any deal they are seeking to craft for the next ring appearance. We’ll insert updates when they are dispersed.

Editor/publisher Michael Woods became addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the fearsome Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist Woods has covered the sport since then, for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN New York, RING, and he was editor of TheSweetScience.com from 2007-2015. Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and numerous other organizations.

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