Mike Tyson's knee injury and surprising loss to Danny Williams may cap his career for good.
By wire services
Published August 1, 2004
LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Eager talk of a title fight came quickly in the early hours Saturday. A match with World Boxing Council champion Vitali Klitschko down the road was no longer a faint hope but a stunning possibility. A small fortune was certain to come.
But none of it is coming to the bankrupt and broken Mike Tyson.
Danny Williams, a Briton who was supposed to provide little more than a warmup for Tyson on his way back to contention, surprised more than 17,000 fans at Freedom Hall on Friday night by knocking out Tyson at 2:51 of the fourth round after a flurry of punches. For Williams, 31, this was the breakthrough fight that could make his career.
For the 38-year-old Tyson, it could be the end. He injured his left knee during the first round and went to the hospital to have it examined immediately after the fight. Freddie Roach, his trainer, said Tyson had trouble putting weight behind some of his punches after he hurt the knee.
Tom Patti, a longtime friend who helped Tyson prepare for the fight, said Saturday morning that an MRI revealed that Tyson had a complex tear of the lateral meniscus in the knee and would need surgery. Patti contended that Tyson essentially was fighting on one leg.
"It could be over," Roach said in the postmatch news conference, referring to Tyson's career. "It definitely could be over. Part of me wants to say it is over. It's an addicting sport. It's sad when you have to retire when it's over. I went through it myself and Mike is going to have to make that decision himself."
Roach said that he planned to fly to Phoenix with Tyson on Saturday afternoon and that they would discuss the future with Tyson's manager, Shelly Finkel. As for Tyson, he wasn't saying anything. After the fight, Williams said he believed Tyson's knee injury had not been a factor.
"I knew they would come with something," he said. "If it wasn't the knee, it would be the elbow or something. The main thing is, Danny Williams beat Mike Tyson. They can say what they want to say, but Danny Williams beat Mike Tyson."
It was the first time Tyson had been knocked out in a nontitle fight in his career, which now stands at 50-5 with losses in two of his last three bouts. He lost to Lennox Lewis in a fight for the WBC and International Boxing Federation titles in June 2002.
Tyson began this comeback after declaring bankruptcy, having gone through about $400-million earned in his career. Tyson owes creditors as much as $43-million.
CRUZ KOS ESALAS: Undefeated Jose Luis Cruz of Mexico made short work of Colombia's Dario Jose Esalas, knocking him out in the third round of their super-welterweight bout Friday in Las Vegas.