Boxing: Nevada refuses to renew Tyson licence

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The Independent Online

Mike Tyson was emphatically knocked out of Nevada and his scheduled 6 April bout here against Britain's world heavyweight champion, Lennox Lewis. The question now is whether Lewis will go ahead and knock Tyson out of boxing. If he does, it will not be in Nevada.

With the newest member of the Nevada State Athletic Commission telling the former champion "I notice when everything's at stake, you're unpredictable and capable of the very worst conduct", Tyson's application to be relicensed was turned down by a 4-1 vote after a two-and-a-half-hour hearing here.

Only Luther Mack, the chairman and the only remaining member of the five-person commission who had allowed Tyson to be relicensed in 1998 following his 1997 biting attack on Evander Holyfield's ears, voted in favor of Tyson.

Bob Faiss, Tyson's lawyer, told the commission that the hearing was not about the Lewis fight, "but whether it will be in Nevada". Faiss said: "At least three other jurisdictions have said Mike Tyson and the fight would be welcome."

That begged the question of whether Lewis, who has privately said Tyson tried to bite his genitals at the 22 January New York press conference to announce the long-awaited showdown, would want to go through with the bout. Lewis said he wanted the fight, which would probably pay him at least $20m (£14m), but he may not want the prefight buildup. It was possible he could still file a police report against Tyson in New York for the bite attack, which Tyson denied yesterday.

Ross Greenburg, the head of Home Box Office sports, Lewis's American television partner, said: "We will sit down and talk to Lennox Lewis and discuss the situation as soon as possible." Tyson's network, Showtime, issued a statement saying: "We are very disappointed that we won't be able to present this event in Las Vegas."

John Bailey, a lawyer on the commission for only 30 days who was the first to say he was voting against Tyson, said he understood that rage was part of the sport, "but uncontrollable rage, you put peoples' lives in jeopardy. You put the referee's life at stake, you put the opponent's life at stake."

Faiss called for a 10-minute recess, and with Tyson no longer in the small room, his motion for withdrawal of the license request was denied.

The vote was then taken and only Mack, the burger king, sided with Tyson.

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