Mike Tyson has climbed into the legal ring with Evander Holyfield because the new heavyweight champion doesn't want to fight Tyson right now.
Tyson and the World Boxing Council are seeking to strip Holyfield of the WBC title before his April 19 fight against George Foreman.The World Boxing Association and the International Boxing Federation first ordered Holyfield to make his initial title defense against Tyson, then backed down and sanctioned the Holyfield-Foreman fight, scheduled for Atlantic City, N.J.
Tyson filed papers Monday in U.S. District Court to intervene in Holyfield's lawsuit against the WBC. If Holyfield is stripped of the WBC title, Tyson - the top-ranked contender - would claim it with a victory in his next WBC-sanctioned bout.
Promoter Don King wants Tyson and Donovan "Razor" Ruddock to fight for that title. They both won first-round knockouts Saturday night at Atlantic City, with Tyson defeating Alex Stewart and Ruddock beating Mike Rouse.
"Holyfield and his managers and promoters refused to abide by the (WBC) rulings, apparently because Holyfield believes he has a better chance to maintain his title in a fight against the aging Foreman than in a bout with Tyson," Tyson's lawyers said in a statement.
Superior Court Judge Amos Saunders ruled last week that the WBC could not strip Holyfield of his title, pending arbitration. Saunders ordered further hearings to give the WBC an opportunity to show why there should be no arbitration.
On Friday, WBC lawyers petitioned to move the case to federal court in Newark.
"Judge Saunders understands the rules of the World Boxing Council, having dealt with them on several occasions," said Pat English, one of Holyfield's lawyers.