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Tyson may face Rahman for heavyweight title belts

“Iron” Mike may be ringside Friday night for the Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker bout Caesars Tahoe.

Boxing is all about television contacts these days and don’t be surprised if Mike Tyson’s June 2 Showtime broadcast is pre-empted.

The heavyweight picture changed dramatically with one punch on Saturday when Hasim Rahman knocked out WBC-IBF champion Lennox Lewis.



High-profile manager Lou Duva, in Stateline for Friday’s Pernell “Sweet Pea” Whitaker bout at Caesars Tahoe, thinks Rahman will have a much bigger payday if he defends his crown against Tyson than he would with a Lewis rematch.

Tyson is scheduled to fight David Izon on June 2 in Washington.



“I think they will pay Izon to step aside,” Duva said.

As Lewis proved, anytime a fighter steps into the ring he is taking a gamble.

Television is the key.

Lewis and Tyson never fought because Lewis is contracted by HBO while Tyson is with Showtime. According to the USA Today, Rahman is a television free agent. A bout with Tyson would be highly lucrative, possibly in the $20 million neighborhood, Duva speculated.

Tyson is working out in Las Vegas with trainer Tommy Brooks, who is also the cornerman for Whitaker. Brooks will arrive in Tahoe on Friday.

“Don’t be surprised if Mike is here with him,” Duva said.

The other portion of the belt – the WBA – belongs to John Ruiz, who is mired in a Don King trilogy. Ruiz will probably next fight Evander Holyfield for the third time, this one to be played out in China.

“The heavyweight picture is at an all-time low,” Duva said. “Rocky Marciano must be spinning in his grave.”

Duva, who played a key role in David Tua’s corner when he knocked out Rahman, is now handling two young, unbeaten heavyweights who are on Friday’s card. Eric Kirkland is 10-0 with 7 knockouts and Reno’s Kelsey Davis, a Tyson clone, is 14-0 with 10 KOs.

Friday’s card will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 6 p.m.


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