DEEP in the nation's heartland, Overland Park, Kansas to be exact, there lurks a raging beast. A man who speaks up when other boxers only quake in fear. A man who openly challenges Mike Tyson, the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.
The challenge was issued only minutes after Iron Mike knocked out Michael Spinks to retain his claim as the world's most-feared ring warrior.
"I'd get in the ring with Tyson for $3.5 million and last longer than Spinks did. And I'm 44 years old," Dan Haupt announced to the Associated Press on fight night.
Tough words, offered with a twang that rivals Tex Cobb's.
What drove Dan Haupt, the Kansas Kid, the Midwest Mauler, to enter the ring with a champion who has left 31 out of his 35 opponents chewing the canvas?
WELL, while others who shelled out anywhere from $2000 for ringside seats in Atlantic City to $30 for special pay-per-view arrangements shook their heads in disgust after the 10-count ended, Haupt took a cue from P.T. Barnum. If Tyson could make $22 million and Spinks $13 million for 91 seconds of "boxing," then why can't Dan Haupt of Overland Park, Kansas, take a stab at the champ for $3.5 million?
And if Don King or Bill Cayton or Donald Trump or anyone else who says he owns a share of Tyson is laughing at Haupt's offer, Mr. Haupt has a message he'd like to pass along.
Stop laughing, gentlemen, and let's talk business.
Dan Haupt, who has perfected a powerful "Over the Rainbow" uppercut, guarantees that he would last longer in the ring than Michael Spinks. And he would do it for $9.5 million less.
Gentlemen, let's face the facts. Tyson, at 22 years old, is unbeatable. He showed that against Spinks. It's time to have some fun with that very simple fact.
Do you actually think that Great Britain's Frank Bruno, possible future opponent for Tyson, stands a chance? Sure, he'll talk about how he's ready to take the champ. But has Bruno guaranteed that he would last longer than 91 seconds in the ring? Or that he would want only $3.5 million?
Dan Haupt, the Jabbing Jayhawk, has.
LET the guy from the Midwest fight the champ. Everyone comes out happy. Tyson, because he'll be another $20 million richer. Haupt, because he'll pocket $3.5 million, which, incidentally, will be donated to inner-city social programs. And us, because this fight will last longer than 91 seconds.
Gentlemen, still not convinced yet? Let's keep talking.
Unlike Spinks, Haupt has a realistic strategy, and he's not afraid to unveil it.