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Chances of Tyson Fighting at Staples Appear Slim

May 01, 2003|Steve Springer

Mike Tyson is all but out of the June 21 fight card at Staples Center and Vitali Klitschko may be in.

Staples President Tim Leiweke's dream of a blockbuster heavyweight doubleheader, featuring World Boxing Council champion Lennox Lewis in the main event and Tyson in the semi-main, is apparently going to remain just a dream.

Even though Tyson failed to show up for last week's news conference, hope was held out that he would change his mind before ticket prices are announced today. That hope was bolstered when talks between Tyson and his former promoter, Don King, about a possible reunion collapsed.

"The chances of Mike fighting on this card have dimmed considerably," said a source close to Tyson late Wednesday. "That ship is about to sail."

But another ship may be heading into Los Angeles harbor. Klitschko, who turned down a $4-million offer to fight Lewis, leaving Kirk Johnson as the opponent, is deep into negotiations to replace Tyson as part of a two-fight deal that could guarantee Klitschko his long-awaited shot at Lewis, assuming both men win at Staples.

A Klitschko deal could also allow the WBC to sanction the Lewis-Johnson fight. The sanctioning body has been prevented from doing so because of settlement of a lawsuit filed by Klitschko.

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