|Tuesday, February 12
Updated: February 13, 11:54 PM ET
Governor joins chorus of dissent
AUSTIN, Texas -- The political pressure against Mike Tyson is mounting.
Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday urged state officials to reject Tyson's application to fight in Texas because of the boxer's "bad behavior and unresolved criminal charges."
The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation is reviewing Tyson's application. Agency officials say the decision rests with Executive Director Bill Kuntz.
Tyson is a convicted rapist and Las Vegas police earlier this month recommended he be charged with sexual assault in two cases there.
Perry said a Tyson fight in Texas would be bad for the state's image. The governor made no such objection when convicted rapist Tony Ayala Jr. was allowed to fight Santos Cardona in a high-profile middleweight bout last summer in San Antonio while awaiting trial on felony burglary charges.
"We were never asked about Tony Ayala," said Perry spokesman Gene Acuna. "We were asked about Mike Tyson."
Perry made his feelings about Tyson known in a letter to William Fowler, chairman of the board which oversees the licensing agency.
"Since Mr. Tyson has criminal charges pending against him for violence against women, recently sparked a brawl at a pre-fight news conference, has refused to submit to required drug tests in other states and has had boxing licenses revoked and refused in the past, I ask that his request to fight in Texas be denied," Perry wrote.
Texas supports athletics on all levels and is seeking to host to 2012 Summer Olympics, Perry said.
"However, given Mr. Tyson's bad behavior and unresolved criminal charges, it would be best not to subject Texas families, fans and venues to a Mike Tyson fight," he wrote.
Hector Uribe, Tyson's Austin attorney, urged state officials not to bow to political pressure.
Uribe said only a criminal conviction directly related to boxing _ such as taking a bribe to fix a fight _ would prevent Tyson getting a license.
"I always expect the state agency to follow the law. If it will refuse to bow to political pressure it will grant him a license," Uribe said.
"I don't think anyone would suggest having good character is a requirement to obtain a boxing license. Some would say it's not even a requirement for public office."
Promoters have been searching for a place to stage a heavyweight title bout between Tyson and Lennox Lewis.
The fighters were scheduled to meet April 6 in Las Vegas but the Nevada State Athletic Commission rejected Tyson's license application a week after a melee at a news conference in New York.
If Tyson is granted a Texas license, the Houston Astrodome, the Alamodome in San Antonio and the new American Airlines Center in Dallas are considered likely options to host the fight.
Georgia officials, meanwhile, have already granted his application to fight there.