LONDON -- Mike Tyson is in England to fight British champion Julius Francis, but there is talk of Tyson fighting another British heavyweight -- undisputed champion Lennox Lewis.
Shelly Finkel, Tyson's boxing adviser, and Seth Abraham, president and CEO of Time Warner Sports, discussed the possibility of a Lewis-Tyson match during the Concorde flight bringing Tyson to England on Sunday.
"There are a lot of problems to overcome, but I believe Lennox against Tyson is a definite possibility," Abraham said Tuesday. "If Lennox continues to win, and if Tyson continues to win, they will fight. It is only a question of when. It would be the biggest payday of Lennox's career. It would be his pension money."
The Times of London said the fight could happen as early as September, possibly in London. But Abraham said December or the spring of 2001 was more likely.
One stumbling block is that Lewis is under contract with HBO, a Time Warner company, while Tyson has a deal with rival network Showtime.
Abraham said Tyson, who is to fight Francis in Manchester on Jan. 29, still has something to prove after two losses to Evander Holyfield and a one-round no-contest against Orlin Norris in November in his last four fights.
"Tyson is a big draw," Abraham said. "He still has to show championship caliber. We'll have to see how he does in his next couple of fights."
"I'm more than ready for Julius Francis on Jan. 29 and I'll soon be ready to knock out Lennox Lewis and regain my world heavyweight championship," Tyson said.
Abraham said Lewis has certain mandatory defenses to get past, but "if all goes well, we will find a way to make the fight. I want to see Lennox get the biggest payday of his career because he has been with us for 11 years."
Lewis makes his next defense against Michael Grant in New York on April 29. Talks are in progress for a possible defense of the IBF title against David Tuna in London on July 15.
The Tyson-Francis fight already is controversial.
British immigration rules state that anyone who has served a prison sentence of more that 12 months is usually turned away, but fight promoter Frank Warren convinced Home Secretary Jack Straw to make him a special case.
Then a women's rights group went to the High Court to try and overturn Straw's decision. The request was turned down by a judge.
Straw, defending his decision to allow Tyson into the country, said Tuesday he could understand the "abhorrence" some people felt. He also said Tyson had not been allowed into Britain on compassionate grounds but to prevent small businesses relying on the fight from going bankrupt.
Tyson seems to be enjoying his stay in England.
He already has put in an order for a McLaren Formula One car priced at $1 million. He also had his eye on an Aston Martin -- until told that it wouldn't satisfy the exhaust emission regulations in the United States.
Tyson bought a wardrobe full of Versace clothes and, for the second morning in a row, he left the Grosvenor House Hotel around 3 a.m. for a run in nearby Hyde Park. He went shopping again Tuesday afternoon.
The former champion took time off from training Tuesday to talk to some of the British press.
"I know the bad-boy image is good box office," he said. "If it's gonna make me enough money to buy more of those beautiful motor cars of yours then I'll roll along with the rumble."
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