Danny Williams vs. Mike Tyson

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2004-07-30 : Danny Williams 265 lbs beat Mike Tyson 233 lbs by KO at 2:51 in round 4 of 10

Tyson's comeback takes blow
By Dan Rafael, USA TODAY, August 1, 2004

LOUISVILLE — Broke, bloodied and on his backside, Mike Tyson's fall from grace hit rock bottom.

It wasn't supposed to happen like this, though. The onetime "Baddest Man on the Planet" wasn't supposed to eat 25 unanswered punches from unheralded Danny Williams of England.

Tyson wasn't supposed to get dusted by a guy who admits to crying before fights because of the pressure. Williams was just the sort of foe Tyson used to tear apart.

But Tyson, the youngest heavyweight champ in history at 20, is now 38 — 14 ½ years removed from his stunning loss to Buster Douglas — and coming off another long stretch of inactivity.

"People forget this isn't a peak Mike Tyson," Williams, 31, said. "I thought I could win."

"He seized the opportunity of a lifetime," Tyson trainer Freddie Roach said.

Williams (32-3, 27 KOs), who at 265 pounds dwarfed the 233-pound Tyson (50-5), punctuated Friday night's finishing flurry with a mammoth right hand near the end of the fourth round, sending Tyson reeling into the ropes.

With a Freedom Hall crowd of 17,273 in a frenzy, a dazed Tyson sat on the mat leaning against the ropes with blood streaking down his face from a cut near his right eye. He didn't appear interested in referee Dennis Alfred, who gave him a generously long count. When it was finished, so too were the best-laid plans.

Tyson hadn't fought since a 49-second wipeout of Clifford Etienne 17 months ago. The Williams fight, which will be replayed Saturday night at 9 ET/PT on Showtime, was supposed to provide Tyson with an explosive victory and put him front-and-center again in a division lacking firepower and star power.

It also was supposed to begin a run of activity for Tyson designed to help him dig out of a $38 million debt. Had he won, a deal worth at least $80 million awaited him from promoter Bob Arum.

HBO, which had a bitter split with Tyson in 1991, also was on the prowl, working behind the scenes to sign him away from Showtime. Now both deals are toast.

He earned $8 million against Williams but will keep only $2 million if a repayment plan is approved in bankruptcy court. So Tyson is expected to fight on out of need. It's also, as he has often said, the only thing he knows how to do.

"I assume he'll fight again, but that has not been discussed," manager Shelly Finkel said. "There's plenty of Tyson left based on the first two, three rounds, but we haven't talked about that at all."

Said Roach: "When everything settles down, we will talk about his future. Possibly retirement, if that's the way he wants to go. But everybody needs to make money.

"He's in the hole a little bit, so he needs to fight. But I care about him as a person. I care for his health. What good is all the money in the world if you can't count it?"

Finkel said Tyson will have surgery this week in Phoenix to repair a left knee ligament he tore in the first round. If he fights again, people will watch, but probably not for $44.95 on pay-per-view.

"He's still marketable and this was a good fight, but it will take some work to get him back as a big pay-per-view attraction," Showtime's Ken Hershman said. "He almost had (Williams) out in the first round. If he had finished, we'd be having a different conversation."

The fight began as expected, with Tyson staggering Williams with uppercuts and left hands. But Williams, who once fought with a dislocated shoulder before rallying for a knockout, showed heart.

"He hurt me for a few seconds, but if you've seen my fights, you know I'm always at my worst in the first few rounds," he said.

Although Williams was way behind and taking punishment, he was landing blows. And Tyson was tiring quickly.

"I saw glimpses at times of what Mike used to be," Finkel said. "But he couldn't sustain it."

"Every single round that went by, his punching power seemed to grow less," Williams said. "So I knew I was going to take him out."

Williams eventually sent Tyson down and out at 2:51 of the fourth in the same arena where Muhammad Ali turned pro in 1960. "Once I hurt him, I just let go," he said. "I just kept punching and punching. It's the greatest victory of my life."

Refusing to speak afterward, Tyson retreated to his dressing room.

Gloves off and lying on a table, he draped a towel over his head as he tuned out about a dozen people. As they talked quietly, Tyson was examined by a doctor. When offered a bottle of water, Tyson was polite. "No, thank you," he said.

Perhaps that's the same response that should have been given when Williams was first brought up as the opponent. [1]