Mitch "Blood" Green dropped his legal fight against Mike Tyson Thursday in hopes of getting a title fight early next year.
Green, who filed a third-degree assault charge against Tyson following a pre-dawn Harlem street brawl Tuesday, withdrew the charge after receiving some subtle pressure from Tyson's friends and family and a letter-of-intent from Tyson's manager saying that a fight between the two could be negotiated if Green achieves a top-10 ranking."Believe the hype," said a jubilant Green. "Mitch Green's got a title fight."
But it is not that simple. Green, 31, will have to fight - and beat - someone already in the top 10 of either the WBA, WBC or IBF to qualify, something he hasn't done since January, 1986.
Green and Tyson met in the ring May 20, 1986, with Tyson winning a 10-round decision. Green has not fought in the ring since, but carried on a bitter money dispute with promoter Don King last year. Green blamed King for his loss to Tyson, saying he could not get motivated for the fight knowing he would earn only $30,000 to Tyson's $250,000.
"There may be some validity to his claim," said Bill Cayton, Tyson's manager. "He did win two rounds in their first fight, which is pretty good against Mike. If he gets himself in shape, he could be a very competitive opponent."
First, Green will have to recover from injuries sustained in the street fight, in which he suffered a five-stitch cut on the bridge of his nose and a swollen and shut left eye. Tyson suffered a fractured right hand in the fracas, which is likely to delay his scheduled Oct. 8 title defense against Frank Bruno. Thursday, one of Green's lawyers said he was called by Seth Abraham of HBO, which will televise Tyson-Bruno, to offer Green a spot on the undercard. If Tyson's injury forces a postponement, the fight will be rescheduled for Oct. 22.
Wednesday night, Green's mother, Charlene, was called by Shelly Finkel, Tyson's friend and confidant and Green's former manager, and Ruth Roper, Tyson's mother-in-law. Perhaps fearful of the adverse effect a criminal trial could have on Tyson's marketability, both tried to persuade her to convince Green to drop the charges. Still, as of late Thursday afternoon, the volatile Green was reluctant. "The man hit me and hurt me," Green said. "I don't want him to get away with that."
Green was also wary of being double-crossed after his dispute with King, and wanted further written assurance that he would indeed get a Tyson fight if he withdrew the criminal complaint. He was finally persuaded by his lawyers, Steve Jackson and David Lee, to go to the 25th precinct at 117th Street and Lenox Avenue at 4 p.m. EDT, to request the charges be dropped.