Work in Sports
Battle of the aging
Tyson, Norris both searching for past glory
Posted: Saturday October 23, 1999 02:39 AM
LAS VEGAS (AP) -- They are a couple of aging heavyweights -- Mike Tyson, hoping to recapture glory, and Orlin Norris, thirsting for recognition.
It has been almost 13 years since Tyson, at age 20, became the youngest heavyweight champion.
Now, with his skills eroded by time and inactivity, Tyson is aiming to become a heavyweight champion for the third time. An impressive win over Norris in their 10-round bout Saturday night in the MGM Grand would be a step toward that goal.
The 34-year-old Norris has had a successful career in terms of wins and losses. But he has never achieved the kind of recognition that he would gain by beating Tyson.
Being a cruiserweight champion, which Norris once was, is one of boxing's better-kept secrets. Norris also long fought in the shadow of younger brother Terry, a flashy junior middleweight champion.
Tyson is a 10-1 favorite in his first fight since serving 3 1/2 months in a Maryland jail for assaulting two motorists after a minor accident.
In his last fight, his first since the disqualification for biting Evander Holyfield's ears in 1998, Tyson knocked out Francois Botha in the fifth round Jan. 16. But in that fight he lost the first four rounds on two cards and three of the first four on the third.
Those who guide and promote Tyson's career hope he looks much sharper Saturday night.
This will be only the eighth fight in eight years for Tyson. He spent three years in prison on a rape conviction, had no bouts in 1998 because of his license revocation from the Bite Fight and served jail time in Maryland.
"If I'm rusty, I'm rusty," he said. "I'll still look sensational. I'm in a perfect frame of mind for fighting."
Tyson weighed in Thursday at 223 pounds, his weight for the Botha fight. He said he weighed 280 pounds when he was released from jail May 24.
Norris has fought less than one full round in 14 1/2 months and could also be rusty. He stopped Pele Reid in the first round June 26 at London. His previous fight had been on Aug. 6, 1998.
"I expect Tyson to come out and try to blow me out in one, two or three rounds," said Norris, who weighs 218. "That's the type of fight he is. He wants to get it over with quickly and get out of there. I knew that way back. It doesn't bother me at all."
The $800,000 purse is by far the biggest payday for Norris (50-5, 27 knockouts), of San Diego. Tyson (46-3, 40 KO's) reportedly is getting $10 million.
The fight will be televised by Showtime, with the telecast to begin at 11 p.m. EDT. Showtime hopes the World Series game between Atlanta and the New York Yankees is concluded before the Tyson fight, but Jay Larkin of Showtime said the fight should start no later than midnight.
Also on the telecast will be an IBF junior lightweight title fight between champion Roberto Garcia (32-0, 24 knockouts) and No. 1 contender Diego Corrales (28-0, 23 knockouts) of San Diego.
It will be Garcia's third defense of the 130-pound title he won on points over Harold Warren on March 13, 1998.