Tyson's two-minute drill floors Seldon Wins WBA crown

bout halted at 1: 49 of first

September 08, 1996|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,SUN STAFF

LAS VEGAS -- With his next two would-be title challengers -- Evander Holyfield and Michael Moorer -- watching from ringside, Mike Tyson hardly broke a sweat in disposing of World Boxing Association champion Bruce Seldon at 1: 49 of the first round at the MGM Grand Garden last night.

After a questionable first knockdown, Tyson finished his night's work with a short left hook. Seldon regained his feet, but referee Richard Steele ruled he was in no condition to continue.

The estimated crowd of 9,500, which paid as much as $1,000 for a ticket, began screaming "Fix" in unison after the abrupt ending.

But this was just another shocking example of how Tyson, who held the unified heavyweight title before his stunning loss to Buster Douglas in February 1990, again dominates the division.

Since mounting his comeback following his release from prision 13 months ago, Tyson has needed less than eight rounds combined to annihilate Peter McNeeley, Buster Douglas, and two of the caretaking champions -- Frank Bruno and Seldon.

In answer to the cynical crowd, Seldon, the 20-1 underdog, said, "Do you know how hurt I am now? I came to fight and to win. I didn't train 12 weeks to come here to take a dive.

"I did not know how hard he hits. He is a destroyer. I am witness to that. The last short punch crossed my eyes. I couldn't see.

"People will say what they say. I was a millionaire before tonight. But this wasn't about money. I did my best. He's a great fighter. He's a bad man."

This fight was originally scheduled for July 13, but was postponed after Tyson suffered a case of bronchitis.

He later explained, "I don't like to fight unless I'm 100 percent."

But even a lesser Tyson would have undoubtedly proved too much for Seldon, who was making only the second defense of the WBA title he won by stopping Tony Tucker in April 1995.

Seldon was back-pedaling furiously from the opening bell, merely trying to survive Tyson's relentless pressure. A short right hand that was more push than punch knocked Seldon flat on his face.

Said Steele: "The first knockdown, I thought Tyson missed the punch. I tried to wave it off. But Seldon looked dazed and hurt, so I started the count.

"The second time, I looked in Seldon's eyes and could see he was in bad shape. I've seen guys in worse shape, but you don't realize how hard Tyson can punch."

After consoling Seldon, who earned $5 million for his 109 seconds of work, Tyson, who added more than $15 million to his bank account, looked upward and said, "Cus, two down, one to go."

He was referring to his late trainer, Cus D'Amato, who first guided him to a world title. Technically, Tyson now owns the WBA and World Boxing Council belts, but a New Jersey court order is threatening to relieve him of the WBC belt, which was not on the line last night.

The WBC championship was not at stake because of an agreement reached with Lennox Lewis, who was supposed to get the first shot at the WBC title Tyson won by stopping Bruno in the third round March 16. Lewis accepted $4 million to allow Tyson to challenge for the WBA title.

It appears that Tyson won't be WBC champion for long. He is set to fight Holyfield, not Lewis, on Nov. 9 in the same ring.

If Tyson wins, as expected, Moorer, the current International Boxing Federation champion, will follow in March.

UNDERCARDS: Unbeaten International Boxing Federation welterweight champion Felix Trinidad, of Puerto Rico, continued to dominate his division, stopping Ray Lovato, of Sacramento, Calif., at 1: 57 of the sixth round. Trinidad (30-0, 26 KOs), who has offered a challenge to junior-middleweight king Terry Norris, made the 10th successful defense of his 147-pound crown. . . . Norris (44-6, 28 KOs) had stubborn Alex Rios (18-3) of San Antonio in repeated trouble before referee Mills Lane ended their junior middleweight championship fight at 2: 08 of the fifth round. . . . Women's boxing champion Christy Martin, of Orlando, Fla., stopped Melinda Robinson, of Fairfield, Texas, two minutes into the fourth round of their scheduled six-rounder. Martin landed a straight right hand on Robinson's jaw, putting the Texan flat on her back.

Pub Date: 9/08/96

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