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Lewis TRO's King and Tyson.

BY Steve Kim ON May 13, 2003
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Yes, after registering a knockout of Mike Tyson last June, Lennox Lewis has TRO'd Tyson and his former promoter Don King.

TRO? Huh?

Temporary restraining order. This had nothing to do with anything in the ring as Lewis and his representatives have seemingly limited their conflicts to outside the ring since his thrashing of Tyson last year.

A press release was sent out last week by Lewis' people announcing the order by Herman Cahn of the New York State Supreme Court. The TRO bars Tyson and King from settling their lawsuits against one another without giving Lewis's attorney, Judd Burstein, three days notice so that he may make the appropriate objections. Also HBO and Showtime have been barred from paying any monies they may owe King from past bouts, including the recent Roy Jones-John Ruiz bout that took place in March.

The press release goes on to read:" The TRO extends until May 19th, when Burstein and the attornies for King and Tyson will return to Court to address Lewis' motion seeking to attach any of the proceeds of Tyson's suit against King, and to bar HBO and Showtime from paying any money to King during the pendency of Lewis' lawsuit."

Lewis and his promotional company also filed suit in New York court against Tyson, King, Mike Tyson Enterprises, Inc. and Don King Productions, seeking $35 million and $350 million in compensatory and punitive damages.

Ok, where do we begin to sort out this quagmire?

Let's begin with why this lawsuit was filed, putting it as simply as possible, this is about Tyson pulling out of the June 21st show at the STAPLES Center and Lewis making sure that he gets his contracted rematch with Tyson down the line. Lewis is scheduled to face Kirk Johnson that night with Vitaly Klitschko headlining the undercard.

It seems that while final preperations were made for his doubleheader to be made a reality, King had Tyson sequestered in a hotel room in New York to settle his impending $100 million lawsuit that was filed against him by 'Iron Mike' a few years ago for basically ripping him off blind. Also, he would attempt to get Tyson back into his promotional umbrella and set up fights with any heavyweight not named Lennox Lewis. Tyson never did bite, but he was sufficiently intrigued by the bait to bail out on the June 21st show and lose contact with people like Shelly Finkel, who serves as his advisor, for a short period.

The lawsuit also alledges that King use should chicanery as threats, bribes and fraud to settle things with Tyson. Good to see King's not mellowing in his old age. I'd say he's still as sharp as a tack.

Tyson falling out of that card had major implications, first the site fee from the STAPLES Center to the events organizers was cut by more than half. Then, it was decided by the higher ups at Time Warner that it would be best served to put this fight on HBO's 'Championship Boxing' rather than take a financial hit by showcasing it on 'HBO Pay-Per-View' and then the ticket prices were significantly reduced when it was clear that Tyson would not be making his Southern California debut this summer.

This after the press conference to announce this event, Tim Leiweke the president of the STAPLES Center and Gary Shaw, the lead promoter of the show had insisted to anyone that would listen that this show wouldn't miss a beat with Tyson. I guess this lawsuit proves otherwise. Tyson was indeed an intergal part of the promotion afterall.

" More than an intergal part," said Finkel, of his fighters absense." He was 'THE' part of the show and it would have been good for everyone and now Don interfered and it'll be interesting to see how it goes."

So what does it say about our current heavyweight champion and his marketability( or lack thereof) that he needs a guy that is at least a decade past his prime and someone he stopped easily last year, to make his show go? It says everything you need to know. He simply isn't an attraction in this country- or any other it seems- never has been, never will be.

Now, Burstein, who seems to be involved in every boxing lawsuit these days, is scrambling to make sure that not only do King and Tyson not reunite, but that his fighter gets his contracted return shellacking of Tyson. And who can blame them?

It's another easy fight for big money that a lot of folks will want to see. It's like a wounded lamb being fed to a lion. If it wasn't Tyson you'd almost feel sorry for the guy. But then again, since it is him, you don't.

Seriously, wouldn't this be like if Muhammad Ali had to beg guys like Ron Lyle, Jimmy Young or Oscar Bonavena for rematches after he had defeated them? It's one of those occasions where the guy who got beat is more marketable than the guy who beat him- and badly.

Think about it, if Tyson and Lewis fought the same caliber of opponent, which fight do you think does better at the box-office? This lawsuit that has been filed by Lewis is all you need to know if you don't know the answer to that question.

Burstein, made comments that Don King, for his actions," should hang his head in shame" I don't think he realizes who he's dealing with. If it's the Don King that we all know and love, he's probably beaming with pride and quite proud of himself. Think about it, while he didn't get his desired settlement with Tyson he did re-establish contact and kept Tyson off the June 21st card.

Lewis and all his men can't breath easy until they see Tyson across the ring from them once again to take his beating- again. But then, if a guy doesn't want to fight you, can you really make them?

It seems like Lewis and his attornies are about to try.

PROUD AS A PEACOCK

The return of network boxing has been a success so far as NBC has had solid ratings in it's first two weeks of it's three week trial run.

This past weekends show which featured the exciting slugfest between Juan Diaz and Eleazer Contreras recieved a 1.6 rating, up from the 1.4 rating the week before. 

Each rating point amounts to around 735,000 television homes.

NBC, seems to be happy with the results and the word is that they are in negotiations with Main Events- which has supplied the shows- for future shows.

It may never be like it once was, but maybe boxing can find it's niche once again on network television.

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