The on-again, off-again exhibition match between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield on Memorial Day weekend in Miami appears to be on again despite a sequence of events that seemingly made the fight unravel in recent days.
It started Saturday when Tyson took to Instagram and distanced himself with Triller, the social platform that promoted his fight against Roy Jones Jr. last November.
“Just to be clear, there is no Tyson with Triller fight,” Tyson wrote. “I don’t know any Triller executives personally. I don’t have a deal with Triller or any head executive representing them for the next event. I am a partner in Legends Only League and my next event is with my league. I will never do another event or any business with Triller so anyone misrepresenting that they own the rights to my name or my next event isn’t true. I am not with or ever will be with Triller’s Fight Club.”
On Sunday, BoxingScene.com obtained legal letters outlining Triller's communication to broadcast networks, cable providers and to Team Tyson and Legends Only League expressing they owned rights of first and last refusal on Tyson’s next event until November 28, 2023.
“We thought this was a done deal but it quickly fell apart when Tyson’s people declined all offers,” said Holyfield manager Kris Lawrence. “We were negotiating in good faith all along and it appears we just ended up wasting our time.”
Team Holyfield said Monday that Tyson rejected a $25 million guarantee, the same sum that enabled the staging of Tyson’s comeback against Jones Jr.
Although he didn’t talk about financials, Tyson changed his stance on Tuesday indicating there’d eventually be a real deal with Holyfield.
“I see that happening in the near future, me and Holyfield,” Tyson told Haute Living during an Instagram Live chat. “Only thing we have to do is get some small fundamental differences [resolved], get some paperwork done and then it’s on to the races with me and Evander ... I just want everybody to know the fight is on with me and Holyfield. Holyfield’s a humble man, I know that, and he’s a man of God ... but I’m God’s man and listen, I’m going to be successful May 29.”
Team Tyson and Triller clearly need to have a conversation and square away the contractual details before an official announcement is made.
After going through an embattled and financially straining relationship with Don King during his prime, Tyson now wants to take control of his career without promoters.
“I’ve learned so much, we don’t need promoters,” Tyson said. “What’s a promoter? Overrated cheerleader? They tell a fighter how great he is, ‘he’s the best, he’s gonna beat everybody’. I like promoters personally, but what do you need somebody in that position of business? To dictate your business, now you gotta be nice to this guy, kiss his ass, because he’s the boss? No, you shouldn’t have to do that, you should be able to go get your check and go do whatever the hell you wanna do and not have to talk to nobody.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com