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Outside the Lines:
Tyson's Torment


Here's the transcript from Show 96 of weekly Outside The Lines - Tyson's Torment

SUN., JAN. 27, 2002
Host: Bob Ley, ESPN.
Guests - Emmanuel Steward, Lennox Lewis' trainer; Tommy Brooks, former trainer of Mike Tyson; Vic Ziegel, columnist, New York Daily News; Luther Mack, chairman, Nevada Athletic Commission.

Bob Ley, ESPN anchor - Well, Mike Tyson, Robin. He has a date to fight Lennox Lewis in April. He also has a history and a date this week with the Nevada Athletic Commission. Should he be licensed to fight? Our topic this morning, Outside The Lines.

Announcer - January 27, 2002.

Ley - This week, boxing and Mike Tyson were at it again.

A press conference brawl is old hat. But Tyson raised the stakes with his brutally raw and profane tirade aimed at a reporter.

Mike Tyson, Boxer - Look at, you scared now, you punk. Scared like a little white (Beep). Scared of the real man. I'll (Beep) you until you love me (Beep).

Ley - His right to fight in Nevada will be determined Tuesday in Las Vegas, where he is likely days away from an arrest on raping charges and the slumping economy badly needs this fight, putting the athletic commission under enormous pressure.

Marc Rattner, Executive Director, Nevada State Athletic Commission - Absolutely, there's a pressure there, but the commission cannot make that their paramount responsibility. They have to do what's right in their hearts and what's right for the sport.

Ley - Today on Outside The Lines, the immediate future of the tormented Mike Tyson.

Announcer - Outside The Lines is presented by State Farm Insurance.

Ley - It was the key to unraveling the Watergate Scandal and it applies to the netherworld that is boxing - follow the money.

In London, sports betters are placing more bets on the likelihood of a disqualification than a victory by either Mike Tyson or Lennox Lewis, should they ever fight.

Incidentally, the odds on a disqualification have fallen. They are now only 4-to-1.

Follow the money.

That logic says Tyson and Lewis will fight for the heavy-weight championship. If it is to be in Las Vegas in April, then Tyson this Tuesday must convince the Nevada Athletic Commission he is fit to fight.

That may be a hard case to make.

Later in this program, I'll speak with the chairman of that commission.

The irony is that Tyson was already required to appear before the commission because the youngest heavyweight champion in history this year will turn 36 years of age. This week may have put his career in peril, again.

A warning, there is some objectionable language in this story.

Tyson - I'm typically an animal. I'm many things. You know, I'm a convicted rapist. I'm a hell-raiser. Yeah, I'm pretty much of a tyrant titan, yeah. They're never going to forget about me.

Announcer - Iron Mike Tyson.

Ley - Mike Tyson's violently introspective world exploded again Tuesday.

Announcer - Lennox Lewis.

Ley - In the macho choreography of such stunts, members of Tyson's team said their fighter wanted to intimidate Lennox Lewis for a prearranged stare-down.

Lewis' bodyguard intervened.

Lewis was offended.

Tyson reported bit the champion in the leg.

The spectacle was eaten up by the media, especially overseas in Lewis' homeland.

Stacy McKinley, Tyson's trainer - Because Mike Tyson gets in a confrontation like this, why is it such a big deal of, oh my God, what can happen. Ain't nothing happened. It been happening all the time.

Ley - Indeed. In just the past six months, boxing press conferences, always elaborate performance art, have regularly degenerated into scuffles.

First, an ethnic insult by Bernard Hopkins against Felix Trinidad.

Unidentified Male - Bernard Hopkins grabbed the Puerto Rican flag from Tito, and never desecrate another man's flag in a road game.

Ley - Then blows between Marco Antonio Berrera and Eric Morales.

Even marquee idol Oscar de la Hoya tangling with Fernando Vargas.

Oscar de la Hoya, Boxer - He came out and pushed me, you know, and almost wrinkled my tie, which I didn't like. My wife gave me this tie, and I didn't like that.

Ley - And before Lewis reclaimed the heavyweight title from Hasim Rachman, the two mixed it up during a TV interview.

Unidentified Male - OK, we don't want that.

Ley - But what distinguished this latest brawl was, after Tyson's return to the stage, his lewd gestures and then an explosion of raw naked anger after being provoked by a journalist.

Mark Malinowski, Freelance Journalist - I said put him in a straight jacket, or get him a straight jacket, loud, and he was looking at me, and he heard me.

Tyson - (Beep) you, you 'ho. Come and say it to my face. I'll (Beep) you in your ass in front of everybody. You bitch. Come on, you bitch. You're a scared coward. You're not man enough to (Beep) with me. You can't last two minutes in my world, bitch.

Look at you, you scared now, you punk. Scared like a little white (Beep). Scared of the real man. I'll (Beep) you until you love me (Beep).

Ley - His violence in the ring landed him in front of the Nevada Athletic Commission in 1997 after his infamous ear bite on Evander Holyfield. Tyson was suspended and fined $3 million.

One year later, he was reinstated by a cautious commission.

Unidentified Male Commissioner - If there anything that's going to come back and haunt us?

Jim Jimmerson, Tyson's attorney - The answer is clearly no. Mr. Tyson will make you proud.

Ley - Three months after being reinstated, Tyson defeated Francois Botha in Las Vegas, and admitted he was attempting throughout the fight to break his opponents arm.

In his next fight, in the first round, Tyson hit Orlin Norris after the bell. Norris fell, injuring his knee.

Announcer - Oh, and he hits him after the bell. Norris goes down and here we go again.

Ley - Tyson was advised to forget about fighting in Nevada for a while.

So it was in Scotland that Tyson recorded a quick and violent knockout of Lou Savarese that ended in a punch to the referee and moments later a rant directed against Lennox Lewis.

Tyson - My style is impetuous. My defenses impregnable. And I'm just ferocious. I want your heart. I want to eat his children. Praise be to Allah.

Ley - One day after this week's ugly scene in New York, Tyson apologized, saying his boxing will now do his talking for him.

Last night Lennox Lewis made it clear he wants this fight to happen.

And with us this morning, Lewis' trainer, Emanuel Stewart. He's been training boxers for more than 40 years and he's worked with champions such as Oliver McCall, Oscar de la Hoya, and he's best remembered of course for his time with Tommy Hearns. Manny Stewart joins us this morning from Detroit.

Until Monday evening, Tommy Brooks trained Mike Tyson. He trained Tyson for the past three plus years through six fights. He was dismissed by Tyson's handlers on the eve of the infamous press conference. He joins us this morning from Totowa, New Jersey.

Vic Ziegel is a columnist for "The New York Daily News" and he joins us this morning from West Chester County, New York.

Emanuel, let me begin with you. Let's go back to Tuesday to this extent, was your man bitten by Mike Tyson?

Emanuel Stewart, Lennox Lewis' trainer - At this time, I'm not at liberty to speak on that because of a legal investigation that's ongoing right now. So I can't speak on what actually took place. It was a brawl. There was a lot of people involved, and a lot of blows was passed in addition to the kicking and the biting.

So I can't speak on that right now.

Ley - Have you been questioned by anyone from the Nevada Athletic Commission on this incident yet?

Stewart - No, I have not.

Ley - All right. So, is that the legal investigation you're referring to?

Stewart - Yes, I am.

Ley - OK. Are you worried about putting Lennox in against a guy who has apparently bitten two people, two champions, and cannot apparently control himself?

Stewart - Well, I think the real key to this is to have a very strong referee and I'm quite sure going into this fight with everyone knowing what Mike Tyson's situation is, and what his previous history is, it would be one of the main topics that I will be concerned about. And to make sure that he keeps his mouthpiece in at all times during the fight.

Ley - Tommy, you know Mike very well. Did what you see on Tuesday, the day after you were let go by his handlers, did any of that surprise you?

Tommy Brooks, former Tyson trainer - No, it's no surprising. I was surprised, but I wasn't surprised. I think in any situation like that, you've got to prep a guy like Mike Tyson. You just can't send him in there like that. The guy is a loose cannon. If he doesn't know what's going on and you surprise him with something, sure he's going to snap. He's human, just like everybody else.

Ley - But what surprised you more, the fact that he threw the punch when Lewis' bodyguard approached, or the rant, that raw, ugly moment of vile language?

Brooks - I was surprised by the rant. Evidently I've been away from him too long, because he missed the bodyguard with that left hook.

I think that -- I was really disappointed in seeing him going on a rampage like that. Right is right and wrong is wrong, and Mike knows the difference between right and wrong.

Ley - Does he? How can you say that?

Brooks - Yes, he does. He knows the difference between right and wrong.

Ley - Well, does he have any self control?

Brooks - I think he does. I think it's just a matter of, you know, the guy got heated and he snapped.

Ley - Vic Ziegel, you were there. What do you make of this?

Vic Ziegel, "New York Daily News" - I was there. Well, it's surprising to hear someone say that Mike Tyson surprises them.

Mike Tyson had a thought in his mind and he exploded. The bodyguard did put a hand on him. That's all Mike Tyson needs.

If he had hesitated when he walked up to Lennox Lewis, maybe there wouldn't have been an incident. But the guy put a hand on him, boom, that was the end of it.

And the outburst -- we heard naughty words. Please. That's nothing at all.

Ley - But naughty words, Vic, that were directed, in a politically-correct society, offending gays, whites, women.

Ziegel - Well, Mike Tyson was the first one offended when the fellow suggested he belonged in a straight jacket.

I'm not here to defend Mike Tyson, but I just don't see the explosion, the words explosion, as any big deal.

You know, this is boxing...

Ley - Yes, it is boxing. That's why we're here.

Ziegel - It's liable to happen.

Ley - All right, Tommy, you talked about preparing a guy for something like this. Let me bring back some of your own words that were in the record in Bergen County, New Jersey just the other day.

You said, "I'm relieved I don't have to deal with the idiots around him, around Mike Tyson, anymore. They were just living paycheck to paycheck from him."

Brooks - Yeah, well, you know, a lot of those guys, they don't see the big picture. I mean, this whole thing is about Mike Tyson. It's not about Tommy Brooks. It's not about Mustard Seed. It's not about Jay Brice. It's about Mike Tyson.

And my job was to get Mike to the heavyweight championship of the world. And you do everything that you can to get the guy there.

Ley - Manny, is this fight going to happen?

Stewart - Well, let me tell you what I pretty much have said from the beginning, even when the incident took place. I definitely feel that the fight is going to happen for two reasons.

Bad as it may have been and appalling as it may have been, the incident -- there's two reasons.

The general public, and maybe I'm the minority, but the general public, they want to see this fight take place and Lennox Lewis himself -- Lennox wants a piece of Mike Tyson so bad, the general public has no idea.

And as you can see...

Brooks - I agree with you, Coach.

Stewart - Lennox wants Mike very badly. Because of those two situations, the fight will take place.

Ley - In Vegas?

Ziegel - The only problem here is the hearing on Tuesday, where Mike is going to be there. What if somebody touches him? What if a fly lands on his shoulder?

Stewart - That is the big problem that all of us are concerned about right now.

I know when I spoke to Ross Greenberg over at HBO, he said the biggest concern we have is what's going to happen between now and when the fight takes place, if we decide to broadcast the fight and sign an agreement to it.

So that's the big problem that everyone has to deal with.

Ley - What do you mean if they decide to broadcast it? The last five days have been the greatest commercial in the Western world for it. I mean, isn't that a brutal fact, Manny?

Stewart - That's been a fact. But, you know, Mike Tyson relishes and thrives in this thug image that he has. It's not something that he's...

Ley - But is it an image?

Stewart - He thrives on that.

Ley - Is it a contrived image, Tommy? How much of this is theatre? How much of this is just him, unable to pull it together?

Brooks - I don't think it's a matter of him being able to pull it together. Mike is a very, very intelligent guy, and he's a salesman. And he knows what the people want to see.

He's aware of the fact that there has to be a good guy, there has to be a bad guy. And he doesn't mind being the bad guy, as long as the money is right.

Ley - But...

Ziegel - Some of it is how much medication are we talking about, and how much lack of medication is there going to be.

Ley - Well, that's not just a joke, because before the fight he had with Golota, Manny, he was talking about how much Zoloft he was on. I mean, this is a serious issue. This is a guy saying -- I mean, we're chuckling -- but it's a psychological help.

Stewart - You know, it's interesting. We're worried about whether he's going to be on the medication, off the medication, depending upon his actions that night. It's really interesting, especially in a fight for the heavyweight championship of the world. Multi-millions of dollars. It'll probably break all records when it takes place. And it will. That we're worried about his medication situation.

But Mike Tyson does everything to the excess. I mean, if someone else would maybe get pushed, and then they would push someone back. Mike Tyson's going to start fighting.

If someone else would just say a small comment back, retaliatory, Mike is going to go to the extreme. That is Mike Tyson, and we should expect that out of Mike Tyson.

And most of those situations, as Vic was saying, he may have kind of an excuse because he was kind of provoked, even though he went to the extreme when the guy said he was crazy, or whatever, and he need to have been in a straight jacket. Instead of having his guy just give him a little thumbs-up or something like that, Mike went on and on and on.

Everything that Mike does is excessive.

Ley - Vic, yes or no. No doubt that this is going to be licensed on Tuesday?

Ziegel - Well, again, what will Mike do in front of the commission? What will the police department tell the Nevada Commission about these -- you used the word rape charges. The only phrase I've seen is sexual assault. That could determine it as well.

Ley - And we're going to get to that as we continue on our program this morning.

Manny Stewart, Tommy Brooks, Vic Ziegel -- thank very much for joining us this morning.

And Vic eluded to it -- next, the other issue clouding Tyson's future - his probable arrest in the next few weeks for sexual assault.

Doug Herndon, Chief Deputy District Attorney - I don't think that if he's indicted and pending charges here for sexually assaulting a woman that we need to be putting him in the ring, fighting, in the state of Nevada. That's my personal opinion. I don't think so.

Ley - Next, I'll speak live with one of the men voting on Mike Tyson's future, the chairman of the Nevada Athletic Commission.

Announcer - Outside The Lines is presented by State Farm Insurance. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.

Ley - Las Vegas is one of the few cities that can bankroll a mega-fight of the magnitude of Lewis versus Tyson.

But the impending decision on Tyson's license may reflect on the city's image.

Gary Reese, Las Vegas Mayor Pro Team - I represent a lot of people and I think the city of Las Vegas needs to be protected, because we are a destination, we are a resort destination, for a lot of people. And everybody that I've been in contact with says that we don't need it.

Rattner - Certainly, we're talking about possibly the biggest fight in the history of the sport. So anybody who says that there are not economic realities, then they're making a fool of themselves.

Ley - The commission will address not only Tuesday's spectacle, but Tyson's violent history.

Twice imprisoned, three years for rape, and later three months for assault.

In the last two years, Tyson settled a claim of assault from two Washington, D.C. women. He was accused but not charged with striking a Las Vegas stripper. Accused but not charged with sexually assaulting a California woman. Accused but not charged with assaulting a former boxer outside a New York nightclub. And this month, seen apparently assaulting a camera man in a Havana hotel lobby.

Most significantly, Las Vegas police have requested a warrant for Tyson's arrest for a suspected rape at his home in September. He may face charges for sexual assault and kidnapping.

According to the district attorney, cases at this stage are prosecuted 70 percent of the time. The decision on whether to prosecute Tyson is still a couple of weeks off.

Herndon - I don't think that if he's indicted and pending charges here for sexually assaulting a woman that we need to be putting him in the ring, fighting, in the state of Nevada. That's my personal opinion.

Rattner - We've had people under indictment fight before. We've had people promote under indictment before. That's the American way of justice, and so that certainly could happen.

Ley - Adding to the surreal circumstances of Tuesday's vote is that one commission, Dr. Tony Alamo, who volunteers his medical expertise with the local SWAT team, was on duty outside Mike Tyson's home when police searched Tyson's house in September.

Alamo sees no conflict, will not abstain from voting, and has specific questions in mind for Mike Tyson.

Dr. Tony Alamo, Nevada State Athletic Commission - I want to hear Mr. Tyson's side to the scuffle. And more importantly is, I want to hear Mr. Tyson's side to what happened afterwards.

Mr. Tyson has a history. This seems to be a recurring theme. He elicited and showed poor impulse control. He showed lack of inhibition and poor judgment. Those things concern me.

I want to know from him exactly what transpired and what was going through his mind when he did what he did.

Ley - That's one of the five commissioners who will be voting on Tuesday.

The chairman of the Nevada Athletic Commission is Luther Mack and he joins us early in the morning from Reno. Good morning.

Luther Mack, Chairman, Nevada State Athletic Commission - Good morning.

Ley - Let's start with the bite. What do you know about the bite? Was he bitten?

Mack - Well, I'm not for sure. I've watched the tape several times. And I have no evidence that he really bit Lennox Lewis.

Ley - How are you going to find out if it took place?

Mack - Well, you know, we've got some people talking to a couple of doctors and etcetera, but we're not sure. I won't know that until about Tuesday morning.

Ley - Who from the Lennox camp have you asked to this meeting on Tuesday to question them on this issue?

Mack - Well, I've talked to my staff down in Las Vegas, and they're going to take a look at that. But right now, that's not our major concern.

Ley - All right. Well, the bite is not a major concern. Obviously, the rant, that raw, naked moment that your fellow commission Dr. Alamo talked about -- I assume you share that concern.

What was your view when you saw the rude gestures, the profane language?

Mack - Well, I was pretty disturbed about that, coming from a sports background and having been in boxing for 12 years as a Nevada State Athletic commissioner. I was upset that this happened, because we were on a different page before this happened. Mike seemed to be OK. He had come before us in the future for to get a vote, and then this happened. So it disturbed all of us, quite frankly.

Ley - Even before this, though, we just recounted all his in-the-ring issues. His attorney got up several years ago, when you reinstated him, and said Mike Tyson will make you proud. Do you feel proud of what he's done in the ring since 1998?

Mack - I don't feel proud of any sports person like Mike Tyson that insults the commission and also goes off on a rampage like he did, in New York. I'm not completely proud of that, no.

Ley - To what extent will his out-of-the-ring history be on the table? And I'm not even talking about the pending arrest, but just all the other incidents, alleged, some proven, some not proven. How much of that is on the table Tuesday?

Mack - I think everything is on the table. I think this is fourth in one. I think this is D-day. I think the commission is going to add the hard questions and if Mike Tyson can handle the hard questions, that'll be one test for him, because we intend to come at him with a strong, pointed question about the last event.

We're very disturbed about that and we want to make sure that boxing has a clean eye and we're going to take a look at everything coming before us, including this last incident.

Ley - And at the same time, you're looking at a fight for a city, Las Vegas, that could certainly use it, that could be worth $150 million. I mean, you're obviously aware what this could mean economically to the state and to the city.

Mack - Well, that's true, but we're a regulatory body and we look at the laws and rules of boxing. Yes, there's no doubt about it. It'll certainly help the economic impact of Las Vegas, but again, we're looking at Mike Tyson. And we want to make sure we do the right thing.

This is a big pressure point for the commission to do the right thing in Las Vegas. So, we're really under the fire here.

Ley - It's been reported and the police have said, they've asked for an arrest warrant. He is apparently about to be arrested in the next several weeks, charged with sexual assault. Is that on the table Tuesday?

Mack - That's on the table, but that would not have any real bearing on whether or not we license Mike Tyson or not. We can have a conditioning license, because right now it seems like the district attorney's office will not complete their investigation until way after this hearing takes place on Tuesday.

Ley - What do you say to those people -- you just heard three of them, all who know boxing very well, and they're certainly not the only ones who say there's so much money involved, there's so much publicity, Tyson is such a magnetic figure, in a negative way, but still a magnetic figure -- there's no way you guys are not going to license him.

Mack - I'm not sure that's correct. I think it's a different program today, and I think that we're going to take a serious look at that.

Sure, there's money involved, but I think there's another thing involved, and that's boxing itself. And that's Mike Tyson. This is about Mike Tyson.

We were not happy to see this press conference.

However, I must say, I think it could have been avoided, and this is what kind of -- I'd like to talk to promoters about that -- and staged, in this situation. And giving Mike Tyson some information that went kind of sour, I think.

Ley - Yeah, but you'll give the decision on Tuesday.

Mack - Yes, sir.

Ley - All right. Luther Mack, chairman. Thank you very much for joining us early in the morning from Reno. We appreciate it.

Next up, your thoughts on the pro golf debut of high school junior Ty Tryon.

Ley - Last week's look at Ty Tryon and his move to the PGA tour as a high school junior -- by the way, he missed the cut this week in Phoenix -- sparking these thoughts to our on-line e-mail inbox.

From New York City - "Why do Americans feel everyone should go to college? You go to make yourself more marketable, and if you have the talent for that job, what's the purpose of Ty Tryon or anyone else with talent going to college? The NCAA is there for the exploitation of the athletes, so kudos to Ty for not falling into that trap."

From Tucson - "I've worked with high school students for 10 years. They have one common trait regardless of athletic achievement - immaturity. Kids aren't emotionally or mentally equipped to make adult decisions. I hope I'm way off base and Mr. Tryon succeeds in pro golf, but my fear is that he does not have that same success in life."

Our keyword at, OTLWEEKLY. Access our library of streaming videos and transcripts. Our e-mail address for all of your comments, suggestions and feedbacks, OTLWEEKLY@ESPN.COM.

Announcer - Outside The Lines is presented by State Farm Insurance. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.

Ley - SportsCenter again in 30 minutes, 41 for Michael Jordan. We've got the highlights.

And now to the ESPN Zone in Times Square. John Saunders and The Sports Reporters. We'll see you again next week.

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 Outside The Lines
ESPN's Bob Ley details "Tyson's Torment" following his recent news conference rampage.
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