Cayton is ill at ease having his stewardship of Tyson questioned by a willful 23-year-old woman (and, of course, her willful mid-40ish mother). Though Cayton has described his relationship with Robin as "perfectly good." when he is first asked about her in an interview, he says. "I don't have any comment about that." Cayton has denied that he argued strenuously against the marriage—which Tyson and Givens apparently undertook on a whim after watching the NBA All-Star Game together in Chicago last February—but he remains watchful. "Mike is in love." Cayton has reportedly said, "and the woman he is in love with has ideas."
Tyson doesn't seem to care what her ideas are, as long as they are attended to. "I love my wife more than anything," Tyson told Phil Berger of the Times. "Other men want their wives in the shadows. I'm not working that way. Everybody's making a big issue about my wife asking about what I've made. If my wife asks something, just give her what she wants. Look, if she asked for every dollar in my account. I'd give it to her. No questions asked."
That is what some people are worried about, though a lot of this gnashing of teeth on Tyson's behalf is undoubtedly part and parcel of the often hostile attitude toward women that has kept boxing a closed order of men for decades. No one can fault Tyson for wanting to take control of the disposition of his already vast fortune. He is guaranteed at least $20 million for the Spinks fight, and with his HBO contract, he is among the wealthiest TV entertainers in the country, just behind Bill Cosby and Johnny Carson. The struggle for Tyson's heart and mind will reap someone—possibly even Tyson, if he can figure out in time who his friends are—a fortune.
In 1984, when Tyson was just 18, he signed a seven-year contract with Jacobs and Cayton that guarantees the comanagers 33% of his earnings, both in and out of the ring. It was the standard cut for fight managers. D'Amato, who adopted Tyson when Mike was released into his care from reform school, cosigned the contract as Tyson's legal guardian. D'Amato received close to half a million dollars from Jacobs and Cayton just to cover Tyson's expenses.
"I would do everything possible to make Mike Tyson happy with what I'm doing." Cayton says, "but a manager is a manager, and whether a contract is with the heavyweight champ or a nonentity, a contract must be honored. Contracts are the foundation upon which our society is built. I have gone to court before to make fighters honor their contracts with me, but I don't think it will ever get to that point with Mike. I want my contracts fulfilled. I insist on it."
Cayton is a nattily turned out 69-year-old man, deeply tanned, with glasses and silvering hair. If he loses Tyson to King or some other swain, it will probably be because he cannot seem to stop thinking of Tyson as a commodity he can sell. "Mike was a manufactured attraction, a promoted attraction," Cayton says. "He's an electric attraction, but he could not have done it without promotion, and I negotiated those deals." Jacobs provided the leavening influence of friendship that balanced Cayton's ego. "Only I could have made this deal, literally." Cayton says of the Spinks bout. "Without me this fight could never have taken place."
"There is no way I'm thinking of double-crossing Bill Cayton." Tyson said in April. "Nothing's changed. I don't know why he feels threatened. Bill sounds like he's worried I'm going to leave. I'm not a rat fink or a traitor."
But things have changed, and they will change again. Two weeks ago Cayton's assistant, Lott, was told he had been dismissed from the entourage because he had fallen into disfavor with Robin (and, of course, Ruth). Cayton was able to reinstate Lott, who learned his lesson so well that last week he refused to allow a reporter who wanted to ask Tyson about all the distractions even to speak to him. "I don't want to have a situation where you ask him about his family and he smacks you in the face." Lott said.
Even Rooney, the longtime trainer who is a holdover from the D'Amato days, was reported to have imperiled his position with Tyson when he called Givens and her mother and politely suggested that they stop interfering in things about which they know nothing. And on the flight back from the Tubbs fight in Tokyo, Cayton reportedly confronted Givens and told her to stop trying to meddle in the business of managing the fighter. The argument ended with Givens in tears. "As long as Mike sticks to his career and Robin sticks to hers," Cayton has said, "everything will work out fine."
Just how fine, however, won't be known until June 27.