Tyson no shoo-in to have license renewed Recent incidents cloud his chances in Nevada

September 18, 1998|By Alan Goldstein | Alan Goldstein,SUN STAFF

LAS VEGAS -- Surprisingly, in this notorious gambling capital where you can wager on anything save a UNLV sporting event, no odds have been posted on whether the Nevada Athletic Commission will renew former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson's boxing license tomorrow.

But the prevailing feeling is that Tyson, whose license was revoked July 9, 1997, after chomping on champion Evander Holyfield's ears in their title fight 11 days earlier, is a definite long shot to win three of the five commissioners' votes needed for reinstatement.

There are a number of negatives the commission will be considering when it convenes in a conference room at Cashman Field, home of the minor-league Las Vegas Stars:

Tyson's profane outburst before the New Jersey Athletic Control Board on July 29. When asked about the likelihood of again biting a rival boxer's ear, he shouted, "I'm angry. Why do I have to relive my ----- past?" before being restrained by his attorney, Anthony Fusco.

Tyson has shown few signs of remorse for his repulsive ring behavior. Rather, he has blamed the ear biting on repeated head butts by Holyfield. "He was crashing heads and I was blacking out," Tyson testified. "I was getting weak from the head butts. The referee [Mills Lane] didn't protect me. I didn't deliberately try to do anything. I needed someone to help me."

An alleged dish-throwing, table-tossing, early-morning incident in a Georgetown bistro March 1. Two Baltimore-area women, Chevelle Butts and Sherry Cole, are suing Tyson for assault, defamation of character and infliction of emotional distress. Tyson has yet to be deposed by Baltimore attorney Dwight Pettit.

A three-car chain accident near Gaithersburg on Sept. 1. Tyson, whose wife, Monica, was driving his car, allegedly punched one of the other drivers involved and kicked the other in the groin. He is being sued for assault and faces a preliminary inquiry in Montgomery County District Court on Oct. 2.

It is this latest incident that likely will weigh most heavily against Tyson with the Nevada commission. If found guilty of assault, he faces a maximum 10-year sentence. He could also be found in violation of parole in Indiana. He is on parole through mid-1999 after serving a three-year sentence for rape in 1995.

"I think the commission should get to the bottom of this [car incident]," chairman Elias Ghanem said earlier this month. "I asked [executive director] Marc Ratner to get comments from eyewitnesses as to what happened. I consider this very serious."

Added commissioner Luther Mack: "The timing is not on Tyson's side. However, we're still going to keep an open mind. I just hope that he has some psychiatrist talk to us why these things are happening. Why is he consistently getting into these types of situations?"

For those who have intensely followed Tyson's tumultuous professional boxing career for the last 13 years, his repeated explosive episodes may not be that hard to understand.

In fact, his uncontrollable rage and unpredictability in and out of the ring are largely what made him so attractive to boxing fans.

Only the intervention of his advisers and numerous payoffs to complainants over the years had kept Tyson fighting until being convicted for raping a teen-age beauty contestant in 1992.

His emotional outbursts have been well-documented. In 1988, he engaged in a wild street brawl in Harlem with former heavyweight contender Mitch Green. At pre-fight news conferences, he would suddenly grow angry at what he thought was an inappropriate question.

Recently, Tyson, who is suing promoter Don King and former managers John Horne and Rory Holloway for mismanaging his affairs, auditioned veteran trainer Jesse Reid to oversee his workouts. The alliance lasted only a few days when Reid objected to the interference of Tyson's entourage.

"He's got so much talent. He's so fast and powerful," Reid told the New York Daily News. "But he needs to be surrounded by calm. He needs to relax. You're talking about a guy who's a walking time bomb."

It is this impression that Tyson and his legal advisers will have to dispel before the commission tomorrow morning. But it seems a fairly safe bet he will be told not to seek his license renewal until all the pending litigation is settled.

Pub Date: 9/18/98

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