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It's Douglas vs. Holyfield; Tyson must wait a year

Evander Holyfield will meet heavyweight champion James "Buster" Douglas in the fall, forcing Mike Tyson to wait a year for a rematch with the man who took his title, Douglas' manager said Sunday. Holyfield, the top-ranked challenger, and Douglas will fight in September under an agreement manager John Johnson said he reached Saturday with Holyfield's manager, Dan Duva.

"Right now, we're planning for Holyfield in September," Johnson said. "It looks like (a rematch with) Tyson will be next February."

Johnson said financial terms for the Holyfield fight have not been finalized, but said Douglas would earn "many times the $1.3-million" he was paid for his 10th-round knockout of Tyson at Tokyo on Feb. 10.

In an interview on NBC-TV Sunday, Johnson said one factor in the decision to fight Holyfield was the lack of respect Tyson and promoter Don King showed toward Douglas after their fight.

"Don King had tried, and for a very short time, successfully kept James Douglas from being the heavyweight champion of the world," Johnson said. "James Douglas didn't get the true glory and all the things he should have gotten after that fight because of Don King's actions.

"We're going to go with James Douglas' wishes not to have anything to do with Don King, and I agree with that, but we're going to be more than fair with Don King."

Douglas and Johnson also rejected a suggestion that by fighting Holyfield, who is undefeated in 23 fights and rated by oddsmakers as a 2-1 favorite for the September bout, they were jeopardizing Douglas' chance of retaining his title for a rematch with Tyson.

"I don't put any stock in the odds," Douglas said. "I know how I feel and the outcome will be another shocker. I wanted to accept a challenge and be a true champion. He's the No. 1 contender, and that's all I can do."

Johnson said he planned to travel to Las Vegas on a plane owned by Mirage Hotel owner Steve Winn, and said he would meet later in the week in New York with billionaire Donald Trump about the Holyfield fight.

"The only thing I'll be negotiating is how much James Douglas will be paid, and he will get paid," Johnson said. "I'm not dealing with any percentages or pay-per-view or anything like that. Someone else can take that risk."

A promoter for the Douglas-Holyfield fight hasn't been chosen, Johnson said. He said he and Duva plan to set a date and site for the match within the next 10 days.

Holyfield's arrangement to challenge Tyson in June fell through when the heavily favored Tyson lost the title to Douglas (30-4-1). All three of boxing's governing organizations recognized Douglas as champion after a brief dispute over a long count when Tyson knocked down Douglas in the eighth round.

Johnson said he felt Holyfield deserved the first fight.

"James Douglas is not the challenger any more, he's the champion," Johnson said. "He earned and deserves it, and he will fight who he wants to when he wants to. Mike Tyson and the rest of them will have to wait."

The seven-month layoff after the Tyson fight will not hurt Douglas against Holyfield, Johnson said.

"James does really well with a lot of time in between fights," Johnson said. "He uses his time well."

Other bouts

Carbajal captures junior-flyweight title: Former Olympic silver medalist Michael Carbajal pounded out a unanimous 12-round decision over Tony "Bazooka" DeLuca in Phoenix to win DeLuca's North American Boxing Federation junior-flyweight title Sunday.

Carbajal (12-0) took control early in the fight in the 108-pound class but had to rally to win the final three rounds and earn his first pro championship before a hometown crowd at the Phoenix Civic Plaza and a national television audience.

Cooper wins NABF title: Bert Cooper won the vacant North American Boxing Federation heavyweight title Saturday night in Edmonton, Alberta, when Orlin Norris sustained a knee injury and was unable to continue.

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