|Wednesday, February 14
Holyfield-Ruiz winner may fight in Beijing
NEW YORK Don King, who modestly compares his 30-year journey through boxing with Mao Tse-tung's Long March, plans to promote the first heavyweight title fight in China.
"Mao really taught me how to survive in this jungle," King said Wednesday in announcing a match in Beijing featuring the winner of Evander Holyfield's WBA title defense against John Ruiz on March 3 at Las Vegas.
An opponent will be named later. The tentative date is June 30.
"It's a major announcement just to be able to whet the appetite of all Americans and one billion, 300 million Chinese," King bellowed. "This is not just a prize fight, this is an adventure."
Calling the fight a milestone in relations between China and the United States, King said he planned to "invite my good friend President George W. Bush and my brother Gen. Colin Powell."
A television deal is yet to be made. It is possible the fight will be shown by Showtime, which will carry the Holyfield-Ruiz bout on pay-per-view. Showtime also did a delayed telecast of a heavyweight match last April 22 between Andrew Golota and Marcus Rhode at Guangzhou, China, when Golota stopped Rhode in the third round.
King will co-promote the fight with The Great Wall International Sports Media Co. of China.
Niu Lixin, chairman of the board of The Great Wall International, said a contract was signed last week with King following lengthy negotiations.
"Ninety-six days of negotiations with Don King Productions is tough, but it is interesting," Niu said through an interpreter.
Jay Larkin, who runs boxing for Showtime, attended but was not part of the news conference.
"I have no idea what all this is about yet," Larkin said. "We hope to start talking now."
Larkin added that he hoped to "go to China after the March 3 fight to make a site survey."
A title defense by Holyfield in China could be a pay-per-view production, but a defense by Ruiz would be seen in the United States on tape-delay basis.
Whether it involves Holyfield or Ruiz, it will be a very expensive fight to televise, according to Larkin. He said Showtime's costs for the Golota-Rhode bout were paid by local promoters.
The last heavyweight title fight in Asia was James "Buster" Douglas' shocking 10th-round knockout of Mike Tyson for the undisputed championship Feb. 11, 1990, at Tokyo.