A man in a suit walked into the gym on 108th near Broadway. He wore a big smile. In the corner two young ladies sat and watched him. One elbowed the other and they both snickered. He figured it was his hair. They wouldn't know him anyway.
He stood there for a second then looked toward the ring, where two boxers were mixing it up. They didn't stop to notice. No one came up to him either. Then an older man, a towel on his shoulder, came over. "Hi. Been a long time." He then turned and yelled, "Hey, Johnny, look who came in to see us?"
Johnny, a young kid, working the speedball, looked over. His face was blank, as he said, "Hey." Then, "Oh yeah, hey, how you doing?" The man wasn't sure if the kid knew him or not.
"Young kids, into kickboxing, don't have any sense of history. I'm Benny. I'm the one keeps this place hoppin.'"
They both glanced around.
"Guess you just dropped in to scout the talent." said Benny. "You still in the business?"
"What do you mean, still in the business?" said the man. But he knew exactly what Benny meant.
"Just saying, I haven't been seeing you like before. You know. Where's those big fights you used to put on?"
Somebody yelled, and Benny said, "Gotta go spot somebody. Take a look around. Maybe you'll find the next Larry Holmes in here somewhere?" And rushed off.
After walking around the gym, the man went back out side and sat in the back of his limo.
He sat there for awhile. He looked at his hair in the rear view mirror. It was still there. How could they not recognize him?
As he sat there thinking, it came to him. It's time, he told himself. It's time to getting back doing what I do best. Promoting heavyweights. Promoting champions. And after about five minutes and forty years of experience, a plan began to jell.
It jelled around two words: A Rematch. Then his brain became a pin ball machine. One idea after idea caromed off the inside his head.
It would take six to eight months to work. Too many welterweight fights, people want heavyweights, but not just anybody. Names. But who? Fighters who were big. Fighters people will pay to see. Iron Mike. Yes, that's it. And Larry Holmes? George Foreman? Evander Holyfield? And why not? Evander Holyfield. The Rematch of the Decade. Why hadn't he though of this a long time ago.
But the worst feeling in the world is walking into a gym and people snickering. That's the worst. Guy thinks I'm 'history.' What's up with that? Not like I'm walking in on Tae Bo, or yoga or something, where they don't know me. The biggest boxing promoter last fifty years, and nobody even turns around. Ain't going to happen again.
This will put me back in the sports section. And make me some money too, best of both worlds. They'll take notice when I walked through the door Hell, ever sports station, Letterman, they'll all be calling, can we talk? Please, talk to our audience, we're here in LA, Pittsburgh, New York, Atlanta.
Tyson, will come back. I know it. He's put on a ton of weight, but he'll work it off. Still people like him no matter what. That McBride fight was a mistake. Mike wasn't motivated.
Get Joe Foreman, Larry Holmes at ringside, maybe Ali, if he wants to, he doesn't really liking me much, and Buster Douglas, I don't know, if Mike says okay. Promotion is key. Make it a real fight, not just some weak exhibition. November, December, they'll be in shape.
Holyfield, what's he 48, getting up there, but still. But talk to Mike, gotta get him thinking. Sign him to something right away. Work on that weight. No ButterBean bouncing around the ring. A serious fight. Get the word out, people start speculating, deny it at first, then start saying I'm working on it. I'll be back on the front page. Nobody'd be doing any more snickering.
He sat back, and looked at himself in the mirror again, then stared out the window. His smile came back.
"We going somewhere, sir?" asked the limo driver.
"No, Tommy, I'm just siting here thinking. Hey, tell me. What do you think about a fight between Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield. Would you go see something like that?"
"Tyson and Holyfield? Hell yes." he said "I'd like to see Tyson one last time. One tough character."
This needs a name, he thought? "How about..'Tyson-Holyfield III, The Final Revenge.'" said the man.
"Think it will ever happen." said Tommy
"Why not? It's me you're talking to. Anybody going to put something like this together, its me."
Tommy nodded. "That's true."
"I hear Holyfield been having foreclosure problems." said the man, "Last I heard he had a 109 rooms home, 17 bathrooms, three kitchens and a bowling alley. Takes cash, baby. And child support. Won't be difficult making him an offer he can't refuse."
"Good one sir." They both laughed.
"Only in America," said the man.
"Do it like the Rumble in the Jungle," said Tommy. "I saw that movie. The fight in Africa. Huge build up. Almost like Superbowl excitement." He stopped and giggled. "But look who I talking to. I guess you know all about that."
"Heavyweights what people want. No kicking, guys in a cage. The sweet science, real boxing. Tyson and Holyfield. I can do this."
It was beginning to really jell. In his mind.
"With my contacts, get on the radio, who doesn't want to talk with me. Pump this up. $30 million, I'll take $10 or $15. Then maybe a rematch? A terrific under card? Just like old times. I walk into a gym, they'll stop boxing, people'll stand up. Nobody'll be snickering over in the corner."
What?" said Tommy
He waved his hand. "Fight of the decade. Only in America."
"Can they still fight?" asked Tommy.
"Can they still fight?" said the man. "Holyfield, fought just last year. And Mike? Can he come back? Crowd would come just to be there, just to say I saw his last big fight."
"How about those Ring Card Girls," said Tommy. "You could talk with Hefner. Work something out. That would be awesome."
The man smiled. They bumped fists over the seat. "I like your thinking Tommy," said the man.
"We'll put it right out there, too," said the man. 'No head butts, No biting off ears.' Right on the poster. Make it the 2010 Superbowl of Boxing.
"How can we lose,Tommy? Of the people, by the people and for the people! Only in America."
"And what do you think about this," said Tommy, turning around in the seat. "After say, three rounds give them a breather, and interview each one, you know. Seriously. Fans won't care."
The man sat up straight. "Not a bad idea. Like they do in baseball, from the coaches in the dugout, during the game. That's good. 'I'm rope a dopin' him, just settin' him up. I'll get him real soon.' Comments like that. People'll eat it up!"
"Fans know they are old," said Tommy, "but as long as they fight from the heart. One more shot, for old time sake. I like it. Tyson and Holyfield were really big once."
"We all were, once," said the man.
"We'll start at training camp." said the man. "Build from there, daily interviews, how they are losing weight, that's good too, people want to lose weight all over America." He looked out the window.
"This is just what boxing needs." he said. "Two well known enemies giving it one last shot in the ring."
"Tyson is like Rocky, all over again." said Tommy.
"George Foreman came back. Why not Holyfield. Why not Tyson."
"Really think you can make it happen?" said Tommy.
"All it takes is faith, Tommy," said the man. "If I said it once I'll say it again, 'If you cast your bread upon the water and you have faith, you'll get back cash. If you don't have faith, you'll get soggy bread.'"
His smile was back as he stared out at people going into the gym. " Where else could Tyson or Holyfield make an cool $5 million each. Sure not signing autographs?
"It's all promotion, Tommy. $50 is all. Pay-Per-View. Who can't afford that?"
Then he mumbled, "Nobody'll be snickering at me anymore."
He checked his hair in the mirror, then pulled out his cell phone and dialed.
"This is Mike. Who is this?"
"It's me, who else? I was just wondering. You doing anything, 'cause if your not..."
Rumor is Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson have signed a contract with Don King Productions, Inc., to fight December 13, 2010, at the Seminole Indian Casino, Hollywood Fl. It's Pay-per-View.
That's my take. How about you? Is $50 too pricey?
Butterfield on Sports