Tyson delivers a few punch lines
Friday, September 29, 2006
By Joe Maxse
Youngstown -- A one-ring boxing circus billed as "Mike Tyson's World Tour" will get its start at Youngstown's Chevrolet Centre on Oct. 20.
Dressed in a gray suit and open-collar shirt, the one-time "baddest man on the planet" did not look the part, nor did he want to during Thursday afternoon's news conference. Instead, Tyson let the promoters of their hoped-for series of exhibition matches spout all the hyperbole while he chuckled and mugged through it all.
"It's not about me, it's about the people who want to see me," said the former heavyweight champ, interrupting promoter Sterling McPherson at one point. "I'm not fighting. It's an exhibition. Why pay to see me? That's what I said. I don't feel I'm worthy."
Tyson, 40, recently completed a one-month training regimen under former featherweight champ Jeff Fenech at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas. He said he was amazed that 2,000 fans would come out to watch a workout and he began receiving offers to tour. Looking heavy in the face, he said he was in "pretty horrible" shape when he started out again.
"I was in better shape than I anticipated, but not the shape I wanted," he said. "I don't know what's going to happen. If he starts winging, I'll start winging."
McPherson, a native of Niles, said he was in the process of signing former lightweight champ Paul Spadafora (38-0-1, 15 KOs) of Pittsburgh to a 10-round bout. Also, Cleveland junior middleweight Juan McPherson (no relation) will be on the undercard with other bouts.
"It's a big opportunity for me in my career," said Juan McPherson (3-0, 2 KOs), who met Tyson briefly at the 1996 Golden Gloves in Cleveland.
Sterling McPherson said this first stop on the "Tour" would be important, but would not predicate its future. He said fighting out of the country was always a distinct possibility.
Tyson chimed in: "Maybe we'll end up in Iran. It's all messed up over there."
When it comes to Tyson, matters have been messed up for quite some time. But he appeared to enjoy making fun of himself as much as everything else this day.