Hungering to be champ again, Tyson makes fast food of Stewart

Phil Jackman

December 10, 1990|By Phil Jackman

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- It's easy to figure out the fantasy that's probably bouncing around in Mike Tyson's head: victory in one of those supermarket sweepstakes competitions.

You know the kind in which someone takes a shopping cart and --es around the store grabbing stuff they can keep in maniacal fashion.

Saturday night at Convention Hall, hopeful Alex Stewart played the part of the goods and he went quicker than a five-pound T-bone steak . . . less than 150 seconds, to be exact.

No slow, feeling-out process in this one. Tyson measured his man during the pre-fight instructions and, once again possessed of the eye and everything else in a tiger's arsenal, ran across the ring as if the canvas was hot coals and he was barefoot.

He missed with his first punch, a right, or doubtless the bout would have been over, the fastest ending in boxing history. Mike admitted afterward, "I was anxious, because I wanted to explode on him."

A breath later, a right hand landed high on Stewart's noggin and, after just eight ticks of the clock, he was thinking sweet nothings from the seat of his pants.

That was a daze. A minute later, a more solid right had him on the edge of unconsciousness. Later, a left hook occasioned the three-knockdown rule to go into effect.

The confrontation was not as close and as fiercely fought as it sounds. Tyson said it was a body punch, which largely went unnoticed, that dictated the outcome.

"I punch harder to the body than I do to the head," the ex-heavyweight champ said. "If I catch a guy good in the body, I don't worry any more."

"I didn't feel a right to the body," said Stewart, who, no doubt, was totally wrapped up in his faulty strategy.

"I knew he was coming," said the Brit, who lost for just the second time in 28 bouts. "I didn't want to run around. I wanted to get it on and trade with him. I expected to get caught, but not that early."

Stewart's counter to the Tyson buzzsaw was a weak jab he left floundering in space while Iron Mike flailed away over and under it.

Displaying a maturity and compassion not previously in evidence, Tyson described his foe as "a class act and nice guy, and it's just too bad it had to happen the way it did."

But this was business, baby, and as the victor assured upon departing, "I'm the best." Again.

With 88 rounds of boxing scheduled, and reigning or ex-champs plentiful on the program, the show figured to test the endurance FTC of even the most ardent fight fan. Such was hardly the case, however, as the elapsed time for four 10-rounders and a 12 barely crept past 16 minutes.

The latest, best "pound-for-pound" fighter in the world, Julio Cesar Chavez, didn't disappoint. The unbeaten junior welterweight champ from Mexico ran his record to 73-0 with his 60th knockout, a three-round waltz past Kyung-Duk Ahn. The Korean treated the canvas as his own personal security blanket, visiting it four times.

Simon Brown, one of the welterweight champs from Germantown, went virtually unopposed as Ozzie O'Neil took leave after just 1:53 of the first round. Also heading back to the locker room after barely breaking a sweat were heavyweight Razor Ruddock and welterweight Lonnie Smith. The people checking out in the first round as losers scarcely rate a mention for their efforts.

The only "feature" bout consuming time was a decision victory turned in by Tyrell Biggs, former Olympic gold medalist. He handed Rodolfo Marin of Puerto Rico his first loss after 17 wins. The scoring of the judges speaks volumes: 100-92, 99-91 and 98-91.

With champion Evander Holyfield and George Foreman slated to square off in April, WBC willing or not, Tyson now has to figure what to do with his time until next fall. He says he's going to take a week off, then think about it.

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