Muhammad will never forget the afternoon of Nov. 1, 1989, either. It was fewer than three weeks until Tyson-Ruddock in Edmonton, Canada.
"Razor and all of us were coming back to the hotel from the gym, and we see a crowd gathered around a lobby TV," he said.
" 'Hey, Razor,' someone says. 'The fight's off.' "
Team Ruddock listens to the TV announcer say Tyson, suffering from a respiratory problem, had pulled out.
"The thing that hurt most was the way we learned about it . . . (King) didn't even give us the courtesy of a phone call," Muhammad said.
Muhammad sued King for $75 million. Then he and Ruddock had to watch ruefully as, three months later, Buster Douglas beat up an out-of-shape Tyson in Tokyo.
"A few weeks later they signed to take Buster to Tokyo, thinking Buster's a dog," Muhammad said.
"We subpoenaed Tyson's medical records and saw that Tyson's doctor said only Mike was sick \o7 that day \f7 (of the scheduled Ruddock fight) . . . it didn't say anything about how he'd be the following day or three weeks later. Calling him too sick to fight . . . that was strictly Don King's interpretation.
"Here's what I think happened. I think Tyson went to King and said, 'Hey, I can't beat this guy right now . . . call it off.'
Muhammad said Tyson ran out shortly after a photo publicity session. Tyson was talking to Ruddock, but Ruddock said nothing.
"Mike is a street bully, see?" Muhammad said. "Street bullies never like to fight quiet guys, especially bigger quiet guys. And so Mike ran out on us, and didn't even offer a postponement.
"Razor was terribly upset and so was I, it put me in a terrible situation. I'm the guy's promoter and all of a sudden I've failed to deliver the biggest fight of Razor's career.
"I'm thinking: 'What does Razor think of me? Is he going to fire me?' "
And the $75 million suit against King? Muhammad will drop it.
Meanwhile, observers have questioned why Ruddock quit sparring about a week ago. Ruddock, many think, has a problem with his right hand. He said he fought Dokes with a hairline fracture in the hand.
Nonsense, says Ruddock's Los Angeles trainer, Art Miles.
"Does a Super Bowl coach put his quarterback into full-contact scrimmages every day before the game?" he asked.
"Razor's a high-spirited guy and we didn't want him taking on wild-swinging sparring partners."
On the undercard tonight, Julio Cesar Chavez (73-0 or 72-1) will defend his World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation junior-welterweight championships. meets against John Duplessis (36-1). IBF welterweight champion Simon Brown (33- 1) will fight WBC champion Maurice Blocker (32-1) and Roberto Duran (86-8) will face San Francisco's Pat Lawlor (14-1) in a super-middleweight fight.