Three days before the Stewart fight Newman filed a $25 million suit against Holyfield, Finkel and Dan Duva, Holyfield's promoter, claiming that, among other things, Holyfield's people tried to make Bowe look bad by saying Bowe doesn't want a rematch. "That contract says a rematch within two fights," says Newman, "and we've had two. It's too late for Holyfield."
"Three fights," says Dan Duva, who has never lost a boxing argument in court. "Evander didn't disgrace himself against Stewart. He won easily against a man who did not want to fight."
At the moment Holyfield is a tough sell to the public. He'll need at least one more, and perhaps two more, nontitle bouts to regain the credibility he enjoyed in his pre-Bowe days. That is why Newman has turned his attention to Tommy Morrison, the WBO heavyweight champion, who recently defeated George Foreman. Morrison already has a 50-50 split offer to fight Britain's Lennox Lewis, the WBC champion. But Morrison's manager, Bill Cayton, is in no hurry to make a move.
"When we make a deal, it will be the best possible financial deal for Tommy," says Cayton, who negotiated the contracts that made Tyson a wealthy young man. "Everyone wants to fight Tommy. The one who gets him is the one who offers the most money."
With Holyfield more or less out of the picture, Newman would like to sign Morrison for a Nov. 5 fight with Bowe, who's still putting opponents between himself and Lewis in an attempt to make their much-anticipated showdown as lucrative as possible. "That's all I could think of as I watched Holyfield struggling in the ninth and 10th rounds," Newman says. "It was a song from a movie I just saw. It went, 'Tommy, can you hear me?' "
Lewis has a tentative date to meet Frank Bruno in September, but he would be willing to push that fight back to face Morrison. The 50-50 offer is attractive to Morrison. "There are a lot of other factors to discuss first," says Cayton. "Fifty-fifty can disappear in a hurry if a lot of other things are taken out of the pot first. We'll listen to any offer from Bowe."
Cayton also might wait for a title fight until next February, when the MGM Grand opens in Las Vegas with its 15,000-seat arena. By that time the British may have installed pay-per-view television, which would bring millions more to any Lewis bout. By then, Holyfield might have redeemed his reputation with one or two fights and Newman might be singing, "Evander, can you hear me?"