Pursuing The Pugilist

When convicted rapist Mike Tyson walks out of jail March 25, everyone in the fight game will be clamoring for his services. Among those counted on to bid is HBO, which was in business with Tyson before he ran afoul of the law.

However, some industry observers are afraid HBO’s chances of landing the former heavyweight champ will be dealt a knockout blow by a Tyson biopic to be telecast next month. Word is that the film doesn’t pull any punches on the champ, and takes a tough look at Tyson’s mentor, Cus D’Amato, as well as ex-wife Robin Givens and her mother, Ruth Roper, who come off as gold diggers. It’s hard to imagine Tyson will be thrilled with the movie. HBO chairman Michael Fuchs says the film is fair and the company plans to fight to the last round to land Tyson. “We don’t think the movie rips,” says Fuchs. “It’s an interesting portrait of Tyson. Yes, we’d like to be in business with him and I don’t think the two are related”

Fuchs could be right. After landing Kevin Costner for the miniseries “The Kentucky Cycle,” it seems anything is possible for HBO these days.

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