- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 31, 2001

Heavyweight champion Hasim Rahman will fight contender David Izon, who had been pegged as Mike Tyson's next opponent, on promoter Don King's fight card on Aug. 4 in Beijing.
Danish heavyweight Brian Nielsen, a lightly regarded heavyweight who was a Rahman sparring partner, originally had been selected for Rahman's first defense of the World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation titles he won when he upset Lennox Lewis on April 21 in South Africa.
King suddenly changed those plans after returning from a trip to China. King signed Izon to a promotional agreement and put him in Nielsen's place against Rahman on the undercard of the World Boxing Association heavyweight title fight between champion John Ruiz and Evander Holyfield. He is expected to announce Izon as Rahman's opponent at a news conference today in New York.
Izon was scheduled to face Tyson in a June 2 fight at MCI Center, but that match was canceled after Tyson's management tried to negotiate a fight against Rahman. They discussed rescheduling the bout for July, but King outmaneuvered Tyson by taking away one of the few opponents acceptable to Tyson's network, Showtime. Tyson already is suing King, his former promoter, for $100 million for mismanagement of funds.
Tyson is the WBC mandatory challenger, and Rahman must reach an agreement to fight Tyson by November. King, however, has been talking about a rematch with Lewis after the China card.
Rahman's stunning victory over Lewis launched a multimillion dollar bidding war between Showtime and Home Box Office, which represented Lewis. HBO had failed to sign Rahman to a contract beyond the Lewis fight, which made the new champion a free agent.
The bidding reached $20 million for either a Lewis or Tyson fight against Rahman. But the Baltimore heavyweight pulled another shocker by signing with King, who lured the champion with a bag of $500,000 in cash, part of a $5 million signing bonus. The rest of the deal with King included $5 million for his first fight now set against Izon (27-3, 23 knockouts) and $15 million to $30 million for his next fight, depending on the opponent. Rahman would get $15 million to face the winner of the Ruiz-Holyfield match, $20 million to face Lewis and $30 million for Tyson.
Rahman's future in the ring, though, depends on the outcome of several lawsuits that will be heard on June 11.
Lewis' promoters have filed a breach of contract suit against Rahman, charging he failed to live up to a rematch clause in their agreement for his first fight against Lewis. And Cedric Kushner, Rahman's promoter until King signed him, filed a lawsuit claiming King illegally interfered with Kushner's contract with Rahman. Also, heavyweight David Tua has filed suit demanding that the IBF strip Rahman of that version of the title because by signing a contract with a rematch clause, he violated IBF regulations.

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