Tyson plans a dose of reality for Seldon Figures foe kids himself with inconclusive dreams

July 02, 1996|By Lem Satterfield | Lem Satterfield,SUN STAFF

Mike Tyson listened yesterday as a reporter recounted a dream of Bruce Seldon, the World Boxing Association heavyweight champ, about their upcoming bout in Las Vegas.

In the dream, each fighter has suffered cuts and knockdowns entering the 12th round, at which point the bout is dead even. Seldon wakes up before the final round, leaving the fight's outcome a mystery, at least to him.

"I dream before fights, also," Tyson responded during the conference call yesterday, "and I get knocked out every time, so that tells you it's only a dream."

Asked what would be going through his mind if he were Seldon, Tyson, who has watched few films of Seldon, replied: "Not showing up."

Asleep is what most people think Seldon (33-3, 29 knockouts) will be at the conclusion of his July 13 bout with Tyson (44-1, 38 knockouts) at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. Tyson is a 12-1 pick.

Seldon is powerfully built at 6 feet 1, 233 pounds. His rapier-like jab has bloodied the faces of recent opponents Tony Tucker (victim of a seventh-round KO for the crown) and Joe Hipp (10th-round KO in Seldon's first defense). Throughout his career, however, Seldon, when hit squarely on the Tyson chin, has landed face down.

He was 18-0 before getting knocked out by Oliver McCall (in ninth round) and Riddick Bowe (in first) within a five-month span in 1991.

Seldon's only other loss came in 1992, a 10-round decision to Tony Tubbs -- four years after Tyson had flattened Tubbs in two rounds. And against an aging Jose Ribalta in 1991, Seldon's 17th victory (by third-round KO), he was dropped by a first-round overhand right -- the fight's very first punch.

The larger Seldon's physical appearance basically mirrors that of the 5-11 Tyson, who plans to weigh 220 by fight time. But Seldon would be unwise to employ the toe-to-toe strategy that he used against Bowe, who floored him twice.

Tyson's third-round knockout of Frank Bruno in March -- his second knockout of the Englishman -- gave him the same World Boxing Council crown he won from Trevor Berbick as a 20-year-old in November 1986.

But because of a ruling earlier this year, that title will not be on the line against Seldon.

"You got a judge in New Jersey that made a decree that Mike Tyson could not [defend his WBC crown] against anybody until he fought Lennox Lewis," said Tyson's promoter, Don King.

"We made Lewis an offer of $13.5 million, but he opted to take $4 million to step aside for us to fight Seldon because he's contractually obligated to HBO, which has continually blocked our efforts to make the fight."

King said ongoing negotiations for a possible October fight with Evander Holyfield would be put on hold if Lewis, who is the WBC's No. 1 contender, agrees by Saturday to fight Tyson. But King said he doesn't think that will happen.

"We know Lennox Lewis does not truly want to fight Mike Tyson, and if this continues and we can't make the deal, we'll relinquish the WBC title," King said.

Assuming the Lewis fight doesn't take shape, an ideal path after the Seldon bout would include the winner of an anticipated match between International Boxing Federation champ Michael Moorer and Frans Botha.

Next would be 6-7, 232-pound Englishman Henry Akinwande (30-0-1, 18 KOs), who last Saturday claimed the WBO title -- vacated earlier by Bowe -- with a third-round KO of Jeremy Williams (26-2).

Tyson then would fight the winner of a Lewis-McCall bout for Tyson's vacated WBC crown.

"It would be tough for me to respect the game [if he could not unify the title]. That's my only purpose right now," Tyson said. "People are oblivious to the fact that a championship might not feature the best fighters."

nTC Seldon, many feel, is not one of the best.

Pub Date: 7/02/96

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