Hope for Tyson as ban looms

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The Independent Online

Mike Tyson's future in the sport may not be as bleak as anticipated. One member of the five-man Nevada Athletic Commission disciplinary board indicated yesterday that Tyson's apology for biting the ears of Evander Holyfield will have a positive bearing on the punishment due to be meted out to the former world heavyweight champion in Las Vegas today.

The board will take into account Tyson's avowed intention to undergo some form of counselling to counter fury that erupted in the ring against Holyfield 11 days ago. That show of remorse may yet prove to be his saviour, the commission's chairman, Elias Ghanem, said yesterday.

"The thing I liked about the apology was that he said he needed some psychological and psychiatric treatment," Ghanem said. "As a doctor I think that is significant."

The 31-year-old Tyson, who has been stripped of his ranking by the World Association, will not evade punishment, however. "The apology doesn't change what happened in the ring," Ghanem added.

The commission, who withheld Tyson's $30m purse pending the outcome of today's hearing, needs to exert control, but what Tyson does after that is uncertain. "The kid needs help," said Angelo Dundee, who has guided Sugar Ray Leonard and Muhammad Ali among others. "He needs psychological help. I don't know where it's going to come from, but he needs it."

Many in boxing, including Tyson's first co-manager, Bill Cayton, suggest a split from the promoter Don King as a first step in changing Tyson's life. "Tyson's problems are 99 per cent Don King," Cayton said.

Tyson's suspension from boxing could range from a year to life. "Anything over 12 months would be disastrous," said the veteran trainer Emanuel Steward. "His style of fighting is a youth style, not laid-back like a Sugar Ray or Ali."