LAS VEGAS -- The subject is options. Promoter Don King claims the only thing holding up a Mike Tyson-Evander Holyfield title fight is the desire of Holyfield's camp for options on Tyson as part of the deal.
Yesterday, King claimed that TVKO boss Seth Abraham (Holyfield fights for his pay-per-view network) is the man demanding options on Tyson. "If he doesn't get options and Tyson wins, TVKO is out of business."
Dan Duva, Holyfield's promoter, is revising negotiating history. He said King wanted $25 million for Tyson as part of a 60 percent-40 percent (Holyfield-Tyson) split.
"I told him the fight wouldn't generate that kind of money," Duva said. "I said maybe someone would pay him to take out an insurance policy. I suggested he talk to Seth, but I never talked to Seth about it."
Tyson isn't thrilled with the "options" talk. "I'm not going to be treated like chopped liver," Tyson said. "I was a credit to the game when I was champion. Now they treat me like a common opponent. They don't respect me with all this talk about options."
* IN THIS CORNER: The Donovan "Razor" Ruddock camp now knows one mouth is better than three. Trainer Slim Robinson will be the only corner voice Friday.
During Tyson-Ruddock I, Robinson and cornerman Art Miles battled for ear-time in a confused corner.
"I'm the most experienced," Robinson said. "There won't be any confusion this time. I don't think Donovan was listening to anybody."
Robinson said Ruddock is using both hands -- he used just the left in the first fight -- and is working on left-hooking to the body. He didn't go to Tyson's body in the first fight.
* MUHAMMAD WINS: Murad Muhammad, Ruddock's promoter, was vindicated by a Las Vegas judge who ruled against the State Athletic Commission and reinstated him as co-promoter of Friday's fight.
Muhammad was suspended by the commission after the first Tyson-Ruddock fight for his role in a wild melee inside the ring after referee Richard Steele stopped the fight.
"I'm glad to be back and I'm not bitter," Muhammad said. "But it was scary realizing these people can make you and break you."
* CLOSING JABS: Ruddock will bank more money than he did in the first fight. After various payouts, he pocketed between $300,000 and $500,000 out of his $3.1 million. This time he gets the lion's share of a $5.9 million purse. Most of the $18 million- $22 million Tyson will make on the fight will be the percentage he gets as an executive of KingVision PPV network. On the books, his purse as a fighter will be reduced . . . When asked why he's fighting Tyson again, Ruddock said: "I have nothing better to do."
Duva took out a half-page ad in Vegas papers featuring Holyfield offering a challenge to Tyson. King ripped his rival for taking only a half page. "They took half page because he's only half a champion," King proclaimed. Duva countered: "He [King] is an idiot. People tend to read half-page ads more than full-page ones." Tyson called the ad stupid. "This guy's the champion and he's got to challenge the challenger? He should be embarrassed."