Promoter Don King vowed yesterday to stage "a range war" with rival promoters Dan Duva and Rock Newman over a conflict of heavyweight fights both tentatively scheduled for Nov. 4 in Las Vegas.
King said he was being "undermined" by Newman and Duva, co-promoters of a third Riddick Bowe- Evander Holyfield fight for Bowe's World Boxing Organization title on Nov. 4.
On the same date, at the MGM Grand on the opposite end of Las Vegas' gambling strip, King had scheduled Mike Tyson's second comeback fight against an as-yet-unnamed opponent.
Tyson, the former champion who has not fought in the past four years while imprisoned for a rape conviction, will fight Peter McNeeley at the MGM on Aug. 19.
Marc Ratner, chairman of the Nevada Athletic Commission, said he received a fax from Newman, Bowe's manager, on July 14, requesting Nov. 4 as the date for Bowe-Holyfield III. Two days later, Ratner received King's request for the same date to feature Tyson on a pay-per-view television card.
"Legally, we can't force one of them to give up the date," said Ratner. "According to our attorney general, as long as we have enough staff -- and we do -- we can't stop them from holding shows on the same day. It doesn't matter who requested the date first."
Ratner, however, said he believes economics will force one of the promoters to back down.
"The wisdom is self-evident in that there are only so many addressable TV sets for pay-per-view boxing events, and I can't see HBO and Showtime going head-to-head, with two fights of this magnitude," he said.