Out for revenge
Lewis confident Tyson bout will go aheadPosted: Wednesday January 30, 2002 8:11 AM
Updated: Wednesday January 30, 2002 7:40 PM
LONDON (AP) -- Lennox Lewis says he still has Mike Tyson's teeth marks in his thigh after a news conference brawl. The Nevada boxing commission won't let Tyson fight in Las Vegas, and the former undisputed world champion faces two possible rape charges.
Yet Lewis is confident the two will still get together in the ring.
Lewis says he required a tetanus shot after Tyson bit a chunk of flesh out of his left thigh in New York last week. But the champion described the incident and the Nevada ruling as "minor setbacks" and is hopeful a venue for the fight can be found.
"He took a bit of me and I want to take a bit of him," the WBC and IBF champion said at a news conference in London on Wednesday, the day after the Nevada commissioners' ruling.
"All the young cats want to do is get a chance at Lennox Lewis," the British heavyweight said. "But I would rather go after a guy in my era (and someone) the public wants to see me fight.
"My main aim for staying around is Mike Tyson. It's the last notch on my belt, the icing on my cake," Lewis said. "I would love it to happen before I retire."
The question is, where will they meet?
If the fight doesn't happen in the United States, Danish promoters Mogens and Bettina Palle said they would be happy to stage it in Copenhagen -- where Tyson defeated Brian Nielsen in October.
"We don't mind to take (Tyson) back," said Palle, who said she was contacted by the Tyson camp last week. "He behaved and was nice when he was in Copenhagen so we don't have any problems with him."
Rodney Berman, who staged Hasim Rahman's stunning upset victory over Lewis in Johannesburg, South Africa, last April, also would like to put on the fight.
"We would safeguard the event with a watertight contract structured to bridle Tyson's belligerent antics," Berman said.
"Make no mistake, we will not be party to anything outlandish that would bring the sport into disrepute and any disgraceful charade like the one we saw recently in the U.S. would be totally unacceptable."
Lewis described the moment he and Tyson, who was disqualified after biting off a piece of Evander Holyfield's ear in a world title fight, came face to face on stage in New York at a news conference. Tyson threw a left hook at a bodyguard who tried to step between them, and Lewis threw a right at Tyson as more people joined in.
"Actually that was a glancing punch, it didn't really hit him," Lewis said.
"The fact is that Mike Tyson bit through my trousers and took a significant piece of flesh out of my thigh," he said.
Tyson denies he ever bit Lewis.
Lewis said he had a tetanus shot in his hotel room four hours after the brawl.
"They wanted to take me to hospital," he said, "but I didn't want the drama."
Originally scheduled for April 6 in Las Vegas, the fight is now on hold. The TV companies which put the fight together and effectively control the fighters -- HBO (Lewis) and Showtime (Tyson) -- have to come up with a new venue.
Adrian Ogun, the champion's business manager, said there were still many options available and he would be talking to HBO as well as the WBC and IBF in New York next week.
"We have contractual obligations which obviously our lawyers have to look into," he said. "Don't forget that when we did that press conference on the 22nd we had signed an agreement to fight Mike.
"Obviously that was denied in the state (of Nevada) but the agreement does not preclude (Tyson) from applying to another state. We have to look through and it's my job to ensure that we live up to our contracts and that we live up to our word."
As for Tyson, who reportedly is broke and also faces rape allegations against two women, it's a fight he badly needs to regain credibility and earn some big money. The two fighters should earn US$20 million each.
Asked whether he would have attended the Las Vegas hearing to back Tyson's application for a license, Lewis said: "I don't know about that, you have to remember this guy just took a chunk out of my leg.
"I'm thinking, `Who's going to protect me in the ring? Who's going to guarantee that Mike Tyson doesn't bite me in the ring?'"
Asked whether he had a moral obligation regarding the fight, Lewis said: "The moral obligation is to go in and give him a whipping."