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  Feb 4, 1998

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Tyson, King rift spells trouble for WM press conference

  • Click here to see the Tyson/Austin Raw Is War video clip. (1.9 MB)

    "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, right, points a finger and challenges Mike Tyson, left, as Vince McMahon, center, CEO of the World Wrestling Federation, listens in at WWF's Raw is War show. Tyson had appeared as a guest of McMahon's and was about to announce Tyson's role as a guest referee for Wrestlemania XIV when Stone Cold Steve Austin joined the group in the ring for the unexpected challenge. (AP Photo/Eric Paul Zamora)
     LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Frustration over his suspension from professional boxing has disgraced boxer Mike Tyson looking to end his 10-year association with promoter Don King and his co-managers a day before he is to appear at the WrestleMania press conference. The decision by Tyson has cast a shadow over whether King will show for the special news conference scheduled in New York for Thursday at noon which will be broadcast live on Viewer's Choice and TSN.

    "As far as I know, Tyson will be there," a spokesman for the World Wrestling Federation said today. He could not say definitely if King would attend.

    King, Horne and Holloway issued statements through Rogich Communications, a Las Vegas public relations firm hired to represent the boxer after the Holyfield fight furor.

    In his statement King said "I love Mike and he knows it, but there are often outside forces and individuals that will try to capitalize on Mike's frustration that comes from his layoff as a result of the suspension." King added, "We'll work through those too because our common goal is to get Mike back to training and into the ring again."

    A person close to the parties told The Associated Press on Tuesday night that

    "Mike went down and met with some guys in Los Angeles and they enticed him by saying they could help him more than his existing deal,"

    Tyson was banned from boxing by the Nevada State Athletic Commission in July after biting Evander Holyfield's ears during a championship fight in June at the MGM Grand Hotel.

    Under the ban, he is allowed to seek relicensing after one year.

    The source said Tyson wrote to King and co-managers John Horne and Rory Holloway, threatening to end their relationship. The source declined to disclose the contents of the letter, other than that it stated that King, Holloway and Horne were not allowed to make any future commitments for Tyson.

    "He wrote the letter, then he called Rory and John later and apologized," the source said. "I think it is a tempest in a teapot. He's under contract with everybody -- King, Horne and Holloway. There's no way he can get out of those contracts, which run for another three years."

    The New York Post said today that Tyson also blames King for financial problems.

    The newspaper said Tyson has made about $112 million in six fights since he was released from prison in 1995, but sources said he owes $7 million in unpaid taxes and is down to $150,000 in liquid assets.

    The Post also said King and Tyson had a violent confrontation in Los Angeles last weekend in which the promoter was slapped and kicked by the former champion.

    Tyson was believed to be in Los Angeles earlier Tuesday, but could not be reached for comment.

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