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Everybody has a price.
By Jim Cawkwell
The moment referee Daniel Van de Wiele counted ten over the fallen form of the now former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis the world of heavyweight boxing was ripped wide open. Lewis did not have the conditioning to rise from the savage right hand that a moment earlier had found it's way flush on to his jaw. He also suffered a concussion from the effects of not only the punch that landed but also hitting the back of his head violently as he fell backwards into defeat, couple this with the momentary loss of immediate memory he suffered and you would imagine him to be in considerable distress and that things could not get much worse but at that same moment there was a different kind of predator overseeing this fall from grace, other than the one that had taken his titles, one that had been lurking in the shadows but always waiting, always aware and ready to inflict as much if not more damage to the career of Lennox Lewis than he could have believed possible at that moment.
I doubt any personal vendetta between Don King and Lennox Lewis, it seems King's main motivation is the almighty dollar sign, the problem for Lewis is that King's pursuit of money has been at his expense on several occasions over the years. Lewis commented while scathing in his dressing room after the "draw" against Holyfield in their first fight of 1999 on some "funny business" on a Don King promotion. But the recent attempts to have Lewis sign for DKP are evidence to me that King only sees the opportunity which overrides any directly malicious intent. The bridge that once existed between King and Mike Tyson is well and truly burned so Lewis even though he is not the champion at the moment is the most attractive alternative, if he had to though.....would Lewis sign?
Everything rests on the outcome of the lawsuits filed by Lewis and Cedric Kushner but I would imagine that both would have to be successful in order for things to run smoothly in favour of Lewis, it appeared he would get his rematch with Rahman before King's involvement but if he wins his case and Kushner loses his theoretically Lewis could get his rematch but with King in the frame and even if Lennox were to beat Rahman there could be no negotiation for a Lewis-Rahman rematch involving King without several options favourable to King regardless of the outcome.
In business King appears to me to be a bully, the entire scenario we see before us now is a result of his wishes and suggestion without any regard for the legalities already involved and the mentality that everyone can be bought. This is a man that draws contracts in secret and has letters sent that pre-date those contracts detailing options that are outrageously favourable to him. Imagine starting a new job and signing your contract only to receive a letter a few days later stating that you have to work twice as long for half the money.
Obviously Lewis hopes for King's exclusion and so do the majority of true fight fans the world over......for Lewis to be associated with King which would not be out of the question if it was his only chance to stay in the frame would mean missing the chance to fight Tyson which after all is the only heavyweight fight left that is worth seeing and deserves to have a reputable championship involved.
King will hope for more than the slender grip he has on the heavyweight division right now to come from the courts, the third instalment of Ruiz-Holyfield means the WBA championship at least will stay in his grasp and even if the good guys win one in the courts they'll have to go through King for that title sooner or later and with him involved who knows when we'll find ourselves back here again?
17th June 2001
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