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In another call to Holyfield, Finkel and Spikes explained the new wrinkles. All things being equal, Holyfield wanted Tyson. But he still made one more try for a November match with Foreman. "O.K.," said Holyfield. "Offer [Tyson and King] 15 now," for a fight before the first of the year, "and 25 if they wait till April."
Duva told King and Hirth of Holyfield's offer. "You should have seen the looks on their faces," says Duva. "They looked at me and they looked at each other, and they turned the $25 million down." Tyson could wait no longer for his chance to regain the title.
Finkel placed one more call to Holyfield to tell him they had just closed on the richest fight in history.
"Fine," replied Holyfield, who insisted that the contract include a clause stating that the winner would make a "best effort" to fight Foreman next spring.
Meanwhile, back in his room at the Carlyle Hotel, Arum was awaiting his contract from Duva. "Like a jerk I waited all afternoon," says Arum. At 3:10 p.m. he phoned Finkel. "I said, 'Where's the fax?' and Shelly said, 'Sorry. We signed with Tyson.' I couldn't believe it."
Though squeezed out, Foreman was philosophical. "I think they both used me to negotiate," he said last Friday from his ranch in Marshall, Texas. "I don't think either guy intended to fight me."
Foreman still has a $10 million deal with HBO for two bouts. Then there's that clause in the Tyson-Holyfield deal. Holyfield is determined to abide by it, saying that if he beats Tyson, he will face Foreman again in April. "I think we both owe him that," says Holyfield. "He was a big part of us getting together."
In the meantime Foreman says he's looking forward to Holyfield-Tyson. "I'm going to buy me six ringside seats, sit back and enjoy it," he says.
Arum is less sanguine. "This is unforgivable, unpardonable," he says. "To use this guy like a fool. It's Machiavellian!"
Arum insists that a deal was closed for a Holyfield-Foreman fight. He also maintains that Foreman's offer from King carried no contingencies. "The only person who's behaved open and aboveboard throughout this deal," says Arum, the wonder plain in his voice, "is King."