Rumours swirl around Holyfield, Tyson

MURRAY GREIG, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:53 AM ET

In the dozen years since Evander Holyfield became boxing's all-time Man of the Ear, there's been sporadic talk of a third bout with Mike Tyson, the sociopathic former "baddest man in the universe" who snacked on both of Holyfield's lobes during their second fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in 1997.

It's fitting that the latest rumour of a third meeting between the two doddering ex-world champs emanates from the United Arab Emirates, a part of the world where public executions are no big deal.

According to reports yesterday on arabianbusiness.com and in The Times of India, an official announcement will be made next week confirming Tyson-Holyfield III for late October in the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi.

Both sources say the fight is being put together by a promotional company called Hydra Properties and quote the CEO, one Sulaiman Al Fahim, as saying: "We have agreement from everyone needed and will make an official announcement next week.

"The idea is to stage the biggest night in the history of boxing and to do it in Abu Dhabi, which would be a great global event for the UAE capital."

Other sources indicate Al Fahim has put together a mega-card featuring three world championship bouts, with Tyson-Holyfield as the non-title headliner.

The tentative date of Oct. 31 is the day before the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Insane money --guarantees of $35 million US for each fighter -- is also part of the equation.

DOUBTFUL

Could it really happen?

Not likely. Tyson, now 42, hasn't fought since November 2005, when he was KO'd by Irish journeyman Kevin McBride.

If rumours that he now tips the Toldeos at around 300 pounds are true, the Arabs would need a forklift just to get Leg-Iron Mike into the ring.

The 46-year-old Holyfield lost a controversial decision to WBA interim champ Nikolai Valuev in December, but that doesn't say much.

The bout was held in Switzerland because nobody will license Holyfield in the U.S. When he's interviewed, it's like listening to somebody talk with a mouth full of cream corn -- which is what his brain might turn into if he continues to fight.

As potentially enthralling as Tyson-Holyfield III might have been a decade ago, in 2009 it'd be more like watching an autopsy -- except both guys would still be alive. Maybe.

As for living, breathing heavyweights, WBA "champion in recess" Ruslan Chagaev (24-0, 17 KOs) this week announced his timeline for unifying the title -- assuming he gets past Costa Rica's unbeaten Carl Drumond (26-0, 20 KOs) on Feb. 7 in Rostock, Germany.

Ranked No. 3 on the planet by Ring Magazine, Chagaev captured the WBA crown on April 14, 2007, with a 12-round decision over Valuev, the seven-foot-one Russian giant who was 46-0 at the time.

When an Achilles tendon injury prevented Chagaev from fighting a rematch with Valuev last summer, the WBA designated the Uzbeki slugger its "champion in recess."

"It is one year since my last fight (UD12 over Britain's Matt Skelton), so I am very motivated for Drumond," Chagaev said from his training camp in Hamburg.

"From now on I want to have fight after fight; I can't wait for the next tasks.

"First, I will beat Drumond. He is a strong man and I must be careful. But he wants to knock me out? That's a joke, isn't it? Nobody can knock me out.

"Then I will show who the real champ is by beating Valuev for the second time.

UNIFY BELTS

"Then I want to unify all of the belts. I want to fight both of the Klitschko brothers. I respect them for what they've reached in the heavyweight division, but I know them both very well and I can beat them. This will be my year."

Same-day coverage of the Chagaev-Drumond bout, along with a prelim showcasing unbeaten Russian heavyweight prospect Denis Boytsov (23-0, 18 KOs) against Puerto Rico's Israel Garcia (19-2, 11 KOs), will be televised on TSN.


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