A kinder, gentler Mike Tyson held the final press conference Wednesday before his bout against Danny Williams in Louisville.
updated: February 25, 2007 10:04 IST
There's no entourage anymore, no angry tirades and no bizarre new tattoos. Mike Tyson is coming back once again, but this time he's aging, broke, and seemingly determined to show his gentler side. The fight is only the second for Tyson since Lennox Lewis stopped him in the eighth round in June 2002 for the heavyweight title. But it's in big contrast to his February 2003 fight with Clifford Etienne that was bizarre even by Tyson standards. Tyson partied his way through training for that fight, then took the week off before the fight to get his face tattooed. He threatened not to fight, but when he did he stopped Etienne in only 48 seconds. Williams, a 31-year-old British journeyman, is hardly a step up from Etienne, in fact he's probably a step down. Even British bookies apparently don't think much of Williams, perhaps noting that he was knocked out in the fourth round by Julius Francis, the same fighter who went less than two rounds with Tyson. They make Williams a 9-1 underdog. Still, Williams knows an opportunity when he sees it, and there's no one better to make a name off of than Tyson. "Good afternoon. All I'd like to say is that I've trained hard from a young age and I've always wanted to fight and beat a great fighter like Mike Tyson. I've always said that if I got the opportunity I'm going to do it," said Williams. Before arriving in Muhammad Ali's hometown this week, Tyson trained for three months in Phoenix, Arizona for his latest comeback. He believes he can still fight, and hopes people still care. "I'm just very appreciative of the treatment I received here in Louisville. It's truly overwhelming and I'm ready. That's all. I'm ready. Thank you," said Tyson. The fight will be televised on pay-per-view, and if enough people buy it, Tyson will be able to pay off some of the US$38 million he owes to various creditors. They won't be paying to see a heavyweight contender though it's likely Tyson could be one in a few fights. They're paying to see the circus and potential train wreck that now surrounds every Tyson fight. Assuming he wins, Tyson will be on an ambitious schedule that could mean fights in September and December. It's all part of a plan to make him a serious heavyweight contender again, while at the same time replenishing his bank account and paying off some of his creditors. (AP)