NEW YORK -- Mike Tyson made enough below-the-belt references to homosexuality yesterday that Donovan "Razor" Ruddock, the target of the remarks, said the former heavyweight champion was "trying to get up the nerve to come out of the closet."
Tyson, in a teleconference hookup from Las Vegas to hype their June 28 rematch, almost knocked Ruddock off his seat in a New York studio and shocked even the most veteran ring observers with blatant homosexual remarks such as:
* "I know you're really a transvestite and really like me."
Retorted Ruddock: "I'm not going to dignify that with an answer, but do I have to sit here and listen to this moron?"
* "I'll come out of bed with girls to fight you," Tyson said.
"You can only talk that tough when you're 2,500 miles away," Ruddock replied.
"I'll make you my girl friend," Tyson said. "You're sweet. I'll make you kiss me with those big lips."
* After Tyson told Ruddock he was "going to get obliviated" and Ruddock asked what kind of word was "obliviated," Tyson said:
"You're dead. I can't wait to get hold of you, you pretty thing,
Ruddock said later that Tyson's behavior had him "wondering" about the hug he got in the ring, when he also whispered, "I love you, man," after referee Richard Steele stopped their first bout in the seventh round last March 18.
That stoppage, almost universally called premature, was the reason for the rematch and the hype began for the June 28 bout at the Mirage in Vegas with the obvious themes:
"This time, it's not over until it's over."
"Just the beginning."
And, probably the most artistic, a 30-second TV spot showing an excerpt of the first fight with Vera Lynn singing that old World War II chestnut, "We'll Meet Again."
Tyson, in a blue sweatsuit and staring malevolently from behind sunglasses, escalated it to, "I guarantee the slaughter will be even more slower," and, to Ruddock, "You should get up and kneel to me and I'll spare you a beating," or, "Tell your family to make your will out, you're in trouble," or, "I don't know why you talk to me like that when you know I'll kill you for it."
Asked what he thought of heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield's recent fight with George Foreman, Tyson replied in his typical surly manner:
"I'd crush the both of them the same night."