Archive for Monday, June 26, 2000

Tyson turns attention to Lewis for next bout

June 26, 2000


— Mike Tyson did not bite, nor did he punch after the bell.

Instead, he hit Lou Savarese twice after the referee had stopped what was the third-shortest fight of the former heavyweight champion's career and seventh victory achieved in less than one minute.

Mike Tyson celebrates after knocking down Lou Savarese in the first
round of their non-title heavyweight contest at Hampden Park in
Glasgow Saturday, June 24, 2000. Tyson won the fight in an official
time of only 38 seconds.

Mike Tyson celebrates after knocking down Lou Savarese in the first round of their non-title heavyweight contest at Hampden Park in Glasgow Saturday, June 24, 2000. Tyson won the fight in an official time of only 38 seconds.

Then he turned his sights and rage on Lennox Lewis.

After dispatching Savarese in 38 seconds on a cold, rainy night at Hampden Park, Tyson said that, should he fight the current heavyweight champion, "I'll rip his heart out and feed it to him."

That's also against the Marquis of Queensberry rules.

"I am the most ruthless, brutal champion ever," Tyson said. "I am Sonny Liston and Jack Dempsey. There is no one who can match me."

A match with Lewis is Tyson's goal, and his harshest words were saved for the British champion.

"I want your heart," he said in comments aimed at Lewis. "I want to eat your children."

In fact, Tyson's next foe is uncertain, but there appears to be a short list of possibilities one that does not include Lewis.

"I really haven't thought about it," Jay Larkin, who runs boxing for Showtime, said when asked who might be Tyson's next opponent, but he did mention Andrew Golota.

Golota twice was disqualified against Riddick Bowe for repeated low blows and he bit Samson Pou'ha on the shoulder. Tyson, of course, was disqualified for biting Evander Holyfield's ears and his fight against Orlin Norris was declared a no-contest when Norris couldn't continue after being knocked down after the bell ended the first round.

Two referees might be required for a Tyson-Golota match.

Another opponent being considered for Tyson is David Izon, who knocked out Savarese in the fifth round in 1997.

Tyson appeared at a post-fight news conference only because he went through the wrong door. He quickly turned around and returned to his hotel, and left Glasgow Sunday morning to fly to Phoenix.

While Tyson predicted he would do terrible things to Lewis, who fights Francois Botha July 15 at London, he said before leaving the ring, "I am not ready for Lennox Lewis. Of course, he wants to fight me right now. I am not ready yet. I need more training. I am rusty."

The site of Tyson's next fight is uncertain.

Frank Warren, who promoted Saturday night's fight and Tyson's second-round stoppage of Julius Francis on Jan. 29 at Manchester England, indicated he does not want to be involved with Tyson again.

Las Vegas is not a promising option, either, at least not right away. Marc Ratner, executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, said it would be 30 days before commissioners could convene to consider a request to re-license Tyson.

The fighter's license to box in Las Vegas expired last Dec. 31, and the commissioners warned Tyson he would have a difficult time being licensed again. They suggested that he fight elsewhere for a while to show that he can learn to obey the rules.

Ratner said Sunday from Las Vegas that he hadn't seen Tyson's fight against Savarese.

"We had fights here last night. All I know about it is what I read in the newspaper. We haven't even been contacted about a fight," he said. "But if we were, then everything that's happened since his last licensing could be brought up."

There were reports that Tyson allegedly attacked Warren in a dispute over who should pay for some jewelry Tyson purchased in London in January. Tyson denied the reports, while Warren would not comment. Warren, absent from Glasgow for most of the week, attended the fight, and there appeared to be a redness around his right eye.

Warren said 40,000 tickets were distributed for the fight, but that 20,000 were returned. There had been doubts the fight would happen right up the day of the match.

There were questions about Tyson's mental and physical condition, and Tyson said he had trained only three weeks. His training had been interrupted for several days so he could attend the funeral of Darryl Baum, a friend who was murdered in Brooklyn, N.Y., two weeks ago.

Perhaps Tyson, who will turn 34 next Friday, was worried about his conditioning. So he jumped all over the 6-foot-5 Savarese and knocked with down with a thunderous left hook to the side of the head.

Savarese, 241 1/4 pounds, struggled up at the count of five, obviously hurt. Tyson was on him in a flash and landed four or five shots to the head. Referee John Coyle then stepped in and halted the fight.

Tyson then moved around the referee and landed two more punches. Coyle fell as he was elbowed aside. He quickly got up and pushed Tyson away as cornermen rushed into the ring. The crowd booed, not because of Tyson's actions but because the fight was over.

"He was terrifying," Larkin said. "It was terrifying display of power, a display of relentlessness."

The display was televised by Showtime on a delayed basis Saturday night in the United States.

Savarese, who will turn 35 July 14, had lost three of his six previous fights, but he still was expected to give Tyson a better fight than Francis had. He never had a chance to get started, and went to a hospital after the bout for treatment of a left ankle injury, probably sustained when he fell.

Tyson's two quickest victories were achieved in 30 seconds against Marvis Frazier in 1986 and in 37 seconds against Robert Colay in 1985.

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