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DID DON GIVE FOX AN OFFER THEY CAN'T REFUSE?
Published November 22, 1995
Promoter Don King is close to finalizing a deal that would have Mike Tyson fight Buster Mathis Jr. on free TV on December 16 at the Atlantic City Convention Center. The fight will reportedly be shown on Fox, after a meeting between King and News Corp. Chair Rupert Murdoch earlier this week. If Fox does agree to the fight, it "would be a stunning reversal in its attitude toward King and Tyson," as the network was reportedly "livid" after Tyson pulled out of the scheduled November 4 fight. Fox Sports spokesperson Vince Wladika said any "reports of us broadcasting the fight are premature at this time." But even if Fox agrees to the fight, "King could face a major stumbling block" -- the NJ Casino Control Commission which has prohibited Atlantic City casinos from doing business with King because of his wire fraud charges (Raissman & Katz, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/22). ESPN's Charley Steiner: "There's still one other hurdle the fight must cross, can Don King promote it?" Steiner noted an answer from the NJ boxing council should be made within a day or two ("SportsCenter," 11/21). "SWEET DEAL": Fox could "get a sweet deal with Tyson," according to the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. The network was scheduled to pay $10M for the November 4 fight, but now is likely to offer King half that for a December 16 bout (Raissman & Katz, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/22). The N.Y. TIMES' called Fox's involvement with King "a surprise" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/22). USA TODAY's Mike Hiestand calls the fight "a bargain" for Fox (USA TODAY, 11/22). Phil Mushnick writes when Fox "folks declared they'd never do business again with Don King, they apparently weren't talking about Don King, the fight guy" (N.Y. POST, 11/22). But Al Braverman, spokesperson for Don King Productions, says the fight will be on Showtime (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 11/22). GARDENING: Sources say fight officials approached Madison Square Garden about holding the fight, but Garden boxing chief John Cirillo said "the timing of the fight just didn't work for us." Sources say MSG has talked to King about a possible '96 Tyson bout (N.Y. POST, 11/22).