Down Goes Tyson! The End of an Era?
By Aaron Imholte Live from Louisville (July 31, 2004) 
Photo © Tom Casino
When one attends a Mike Tyson fight or event you rarely know what to expect. But when the fight is against a virtual unknown in the Americas, the outcome should almost be sealed and ready for delivery.

Danny Williams came in the underdog obviously. But in his walk to the ring you could see that he had come to fight and that he knew this was his big shot to make a title contender out of himself.

Tyson came in also with a look of determination, focus, and a need for a victory to keep his comeback alive. Almost everyone around me knew this would be a short night and that Tyson would make quick work of the Briton.

It seemed that way three minutes into the Tyson-Williams main event at Freedom Hall on Friday night. Tyson looked 5 years younger, charging inside of Williams’ reach behind a beautiful stiff jab and ripping his opponent’s body and head with fast ferocious combinations while his uppercut and hooks were thrown with devastating intentions. Couple that with the fact that Tyson was moving his head very well and it seemed only a matter of time before Williams hit the canvas. “I thought we were on our way to a quick knockout,” said Freddie Roach, Tyson’s trainer, after the fight.

A funny thing happened though three minutes into this fight. The bell sounded an end to the first round and both men were still on their feet! An even greater concern to team Tyson was a knee injury suffered by Mike while in a clinch with Williams. “I don’t want to make excuses for Mike because that is the last thing he would do but he just couldn’t turn the left hook over because of the knee injury,” Roach said in the post fight press conference. It really hindered Tyson’s head movement and his use of his jab.

But the fight continued on and for the first half of the second round it was more of the same. Tyson was landing bombs to the head and body of Williams while the game Brit stayed on his feet, absorbing everything Tyson hit him with. “My game plan was to box him but after he hit me with those first shots I thought, lets go to war, but his power was not all that I expected it to be,” Williams later said of his approach to the fight. Williams showed life in the second, trading bombs with Mike as well as clinching and using his weight to lean on Tyson in the clinches. Late in the round Williams really tagged Tyson but not enough to take the round.

Early in the third round Williams was warned for punching in the clinch and had a point taken away from him. Williams was now stunning Tyson while they are trading shots in close and he even cut Tyson by his eye. Tyson was still charging and they were still battling, but later in the round ANOTHER point was taken away from Williams for punching in the clinch. It was a curious move to everyone in attendance especially Williams who later said “I felt like I was fighting two people in there because that ref was a joke.” The round ended with Tyson appearing a bit shaken and Williams winning the round visibly, but not on the cards due to the deductions.

Less than a minute into the fourth round every writer in attendance stopped their hurried writing of their round reports, dropped their pens (including myself) and watched stunned as Danny Williams, that unknown stepping stone for Mike Tyson’s comeback tagged Mike repeatedly and sent him backwards. Mike failed to charge back in and another succession of right and left hands sent Tyson stumbling to the ground with only the ropes to keep him sitting upright. Everyone in attendance was shocked to see the ref clutching Tyson and waving the fight to a halt! Mike Tyson was finished and even at the post fight press conference a lot of us were still trying to bring our minds to believe the reality of what had just happened.

Tyson was taken to the hospital for stitches, a CT scan and to have his knee looked at. Team Tyson believes he tore some ligaments in his left knee which would be a difficult injury for a 38-year-old to bounce back from.

Afterward Freddie Roach appeared emotionally shaken by the outcome but said he was proud of Mike and that he “worked hard” in getting down from 268 pounds into his fight weight of 233. When asked if Mike would fight again Roach said that “I will sit down with Shelley Finkel and Mike and we will have a long discussion about fighting in the future. We will not discuss money; I care too much about Mike as a person too see him fight solely for money.”

To the victor, however, go the spoils. Danny Williams seemed very pleased at the post fight press conference and was very focused on his future options when asked about them. “I would love to fight Brewster or Byrd because I don’t feel that those guys are really that good, if Mike wants a rematch I would only do that if the money was right. I might like to fight Evander Holyfeild, take another old boy down, no disrespect.”

So how would someone celebrate such a victory and a career altering one at that? “My celebration will be being able to hold my two daughters, that’s all; there will be no partying or drinking for me.”

As to Tyson ever fighting again, is he still a draw? Is the mystique gone? I asked Danny and here is what he had to say. “Definitely, after someone like Danny Williams beats Mike Tyson it is over for him.”

Time will only tell whether Mike will return to the ring. One should hope for Mike’s sake that he finds some other avenue in which to pay off his creditors. His career in the ring is all but over and the draw power and mystique he had may have just run out for the man formerly known as ‘Kid Dynamite’.

So tonight in Louisville it is the old case of ‘a star is born, a star burns out’. Even if Tyson does return to the ring, he is no longer a factor in the heavyweight scene and never will be again. I wish him all the luck in the world in whatever else he pursues. As to Danny Williams, good luck and enjoy your fame, however long it lasts.
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