SBD/22/Sports Media

DID DON GIVE FOX AN OFFER THEY CAN'T REFUSE?

     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).
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