“Had you done so, perhaps you would have a better understanding of my love for amateur boxing and my commitment to protect fighters by giving them the best possible opportunities this business can offer.” On Tuesday, Butler sent an open letter to Tyson — a former Olympic hopeful himself — accusing recently formed Iron Mike Productions of offering money to the best amateur fighters to turn pro, in particular top 152-pound fighter Erickson Lubin, who some in amateur boxing say represents the country’s best hope for a gold medal at the Rio Games. Butler said the money being offered is “pennies on the dollar” of what the prospects could be worth with an Olympic medal. Mignano confirmed that Iron Mike Promotions signed the Florida fighter on his 18th birthday, which was Tuesday. Lubin is a two-time Junior Olympic national champion and won the 152-pound division at the National Golden Gloves this year. In his USA Boxing bio, Lubin listed as his goals winning an Olympic gold, turning pro and winning every title possible. Tyson defended the signing of Lubin, saying it “was solely his decision and based on consultation and input from his advisors.” Tyson reminded Butler in the letter that the former heavyweight champ himself turned pro at age 18 and “had a very successful professional career.” “No one knows better than I the pitfalls of amateur and professional boxing,” Tyson wrote. “This is precisely why I am compelled to make Iron Mike Productions a transparent company. Our priority is the well-being of our fighters and to produce the most exciting fights we can and in the process uplift the sport of boxing. “I love my country and I love the liberties living in a democracy affords. These young fighters have worked diligently and deserve the right to pursue the best path they deem fit for themselves. Unfortunately, many of them can’t wait around for a very slim shot at Olympic glory.” Tyson was left off the 1984 Olympic boxing team after losing a close decision in the trials. “Our country hasn’t had a male boxing gold medalist since 2004 [Andre Ward], which could be why many young hopefuls decide to turn professional sooner,” Tyson wrote. “Many of these boxers are like me in that they are from poverty stricken communities and boxing is their only way to a better life. They have obligations beyond your personal vision for them.
Step two is now to engage those young people to be part of the long-term solution and become champions for change in their schools and communities, said Toby Graff, USA Network senior vice president of Public Affairs. The Unite Against Bullying Commercial Challenge is a win-win. Students get an incredible opportunity to express themselves and make a difference and we get to create a television commercial that will speak to an audience critical to fostering greater respect and acceptance. From October 3 through November 20, students ages 13-18 can enter the Unite Against Bullying Commercial Challenge by submitting a short written essay or a video. The winner will receive an iPad and a trip to Los Angeles to see the commercial filmed. Two runners-up will also receive iPads as tools to continue to develop their creative talents and community leadership. The R&R Partners Foundation has been a passionate advocate in the fight against bullying through our Flip the Script campaign, and this commercial challenge elevates this mission to a whole new level, said Cindy Dreibelbis, executive director of the R&R Partners Foundation. We hope students across the country will embrace this challenge; they are on the front lines of the battle against bullying every day. A year-long program, Characters Unite aims to combat discrimination and intolerance in all its forms. The public service campaign is dedicated to supporting activities and messaging to promote understanding and acceptance on-air, online, and in communities across the country. To enter the contest, view the rules and regulations and learn more about Characters Unite, please visit www.charactersunite.com . About Characters Unite Characters Unite, USA Networks award-winning public service campaign, was created to address the social injustices and cultural divides still prevalent in our society. Inspired by USA Networks iconic Characters Welcome brand and with the support of leading national nonprofit organizations, the ongoing campaign is dedicated to combating prejudice, discrimination and intolerance while promoting understanding and acceptance — on-air, online and in communities around the country.Please log on to www.charactersunite.com for more information on the initiative and what you can do to make a difference. About R&R Partners Foundation The R&R Partners Foundation is the nonprofit 501(c)(3) affiliate of R&R Partners, a marketing communications/government affairs firm based in Las Vegas, with seven offices across the West and in Washington, D.C. The Foundation is an expression of R&Rs belief that creative ideas, which spring from the talent and volunteer spirit of our employees, can transform lives and affect positive change in the communities where we do business and beyond. About Cox Communications Cox Communications is a broadband communications and entertainment company, providing advanced digital video, Internet and telephone services over its own nationwide IP network.