Members of Evander Holyfield’s team say Mike Tyson has rejected a $25 million guarantee to fight Holyfield on May 29 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.
The two sides had been in talks for months about getting Tyson and Holyfield in the ring, after Tyson fought an exhibition against Roy Jones Jr. last year that was considered a success.
Holyfield seemed to be the next opponent for Tyson in a potential exhibition — Tyson had indicated he would be interested in doing another fight after the Jones bout — but nothing was finalized.
“We thought this was a done deal but it quickly fell apart when Tyson’s people declined all offers,” Holyfield’s manager, Kris Lawrence, said in a statement Monday. “We were negotiating in good faith all along and it appears we just ended up wasting our time.”
Tyson was clearly perturbed by the negotiations over the weekend, when he posted on his Instagram account that he would never work with Triller again. Triller had been the broadcaster of the Tyson-Jones fight and recently won a purse bid to put on Teofimo Lopez’s title defense.
Tyson, 54, said any future events he does will be with his Legends Only League, which has not posted a blog update on its website since Jan. 20 and says “Next event announcement coming soon!” on its front page.
“Just to be clear there is no Tyson with Triller fight,” Tyson wrote on Instagram. “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.”
Holyfield, 58, said this past December that a third fight against Tyson “must happen for both our legacies.”
Tyson-Holyfield was one of boxing’s best rivalries of the 1990s. In November 1996, Holyfield, who was in the midst of a comeback from retirement, shocked a prime Tyson by scoring an 11th-round TKO victory — a significant upset.
Holyfield also won the June 1997 rematch by fourth-round disqualification in controversial fashion, as Tyson twice bit his ear (the first time ripping a piece off) in retaliation for what he perceived to be intentional head butts.