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Tyson-Norris Report

The Enablers

By Thomas Gerbasi / Associate Editor

It was another circus in Las Vegas last night, as Mike Tyson’s one round debacle with Orlin Norris was ruled a no-contest after a late punch dropped Norris to the canvas, twisting his knee in the process. Norris was unable to continue, and thus the ruling.

But this isn’t about boxing anymore. This is about the deterioration of the sport and of a man. At one time, like it or not, Mike Tyson was a great fighter. I grew up on Tyson and counted him as one of my all-time favorites. But now, it is painfully clear (as if it hasn’t been for some time now), that he is making a joke of the sport he once professed to love.

But he will fight on.

The spineless Las Vegas State Athletic Commission will continue to sanction his bouts until he really hurts someone, including himself. The looks on the faces of the likes of LVSAC head Marc Ratner and ringside doctor Flip Homansky have become too familiar. It is the look of men who have been told that matters are not in their hands anymore. That Mike Tyson will be allowed to step into a boxing for as long as he is physically able to. Because to the average joe on the street, the average high rolling casino patron, and the average televsion executive, Mike Tyson is boxing, $$$, and ratings.

Unfortunately, he is no longer a fighter.

Diego Corrales and Roberto Garcia, two junior lightweights who will never come close to Tyson-esque dollars in their careers, are fighters. These two warriors waged an exciting battle in a preliminary bout last night, but you won’t read about them in this week’s Sports Illustrated, or any other magazine which will cite the Tyson-Norris farce as the latest nail in boxing’s coffin.

Boxing will survive, but unfortunately, it will remain the butt of jokes from the ignorant, who believe that Mike Tyson is the best we have to offer. He used to be. To some he still is. Just wait until his next bout. The media will be on board, as will the managers, trainers and promoters. The same ones who cajoled Tyson after the fight with words like "It’s all right, you did nothing wrong." The same writers who praised the "new" Tyson in the weeks preceding the fight, so impressed that he even chose to speak to them. There were even those who praised Tyson’s first three minutes of action last night ("he jabbed, he moved his head, he threw combinations!") as if he had turned back the clock to 1986.

Mike Tyson will never again have to take responsibility for his actions in the ring. As long as he can walk up those four steps, he has carte blanche to do as he pleases. For his enablers will continue to bleed the freak until his usefulness has been used up.

This is a tragedy.


- Orlin Norris

    LAS VEGAS (October 24, 1999) -- Orlin Norris does not think Mike Tyson intentionally threw the punch after the bell that ended the first round of their scheduled 10-round bout last night at the MGM Grand Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas last night.  The fight was televised live nationally on SHOWTIME.

    Norris, who injured his right knee when he fell from the punch, was unable to answer the bell for the start of round two.  The fight was then declared a "No Contest."

    "It was an intense first round," said Norris.  "We both were throwing punches and fighting out of the round's final clinch.  It was also very noisy.  I honestly feel that Mike did not foul me intentionally."

    The professional records for Tyson, a two-time world heavyweight champion, and Norris, a former world cruiserweight champion, remained at 50-5 and 46-3, respectively.

Former champ unable to fight without controversy
by Chris Bushnell  (

Twenty four hours after HBO broadcast an ugly main event [Hamed vs. Soto] over a brilliant undercard bout [Morales vs. McCullough], rival cable outlet Showtime repeated the protocol precisely.  The live main event of Mike Tyson vs. Orlin Norris lasted one round before a controversial ending marred the evening, and Roberto Garcia and Diego Corrales thrilled fans with a surprise, but sublime, ending all it's own.  Strap on your cliché helmets, boxing fans...for the next week you won't be able to pick up a publication without reading "another black eye for boxing" .

For the 45th time, but only the eighth time this decade, Mike Tyson entered the ring to do battle.  So diminished is his once great career that pundits don't even bother to ask if he can regain his old form, but instead question
whether he can even win.  This night he was paired with Orlin Norris, the safest possible opponent Team Tyson could get past the Nevada State Athletic Commission.   Having lost 60 pounds in training camp, many wondered if the match might be more competitive than originally anticipated.

Tyson charged Norris at the opening bell, minus the punches.  Tyson, looking flabby and aged, tossed a couple of jabs at Norris before settling on staring at him instead.   Occasionally, Tyson would throw a wild left hook or
telegraphed right hand bomb, but even Norris, no spring chicken himself, could see it coming.  Tyson has lost many of his finest attributes, including head movement, combination punching, and stamina...but perhaps his most
devastating weakness is his loss of handspeed.  The heavyweight who once fired off punches like a machine gun now hurls laborious bombs at his opponent one at a time.   Tyson didn't come close to landing a single one.

To Norris' credit, he was able to land a few blows on Mike in the opening round.   After several hooks to the body on the clinch, a handful of decent jabs that popped Tyson's forehead, and even a couple of headbutts to show he wouldn't back down, Norris was on his way to a 10-9 opening round.  But with 16 seconds to go, as referee Richard Steele repeatedly called for a break, Tyson swung three increasingly powerful uppercuts at Norris.  Tyson was clearly frustrated that even the small Norris was having success in tying him up, and Richard Steele looked Tyson in the eye and told him "One more time and I'm going to take a point [away]"

Steele called time-in, the fighters came together for one last clinch.  While tangled up, the bell to end the round sounded with five consecutive gongs.  And then, after the final bell had sounded and with Richard Steele already
grabbing Tyson's right shoulder to separate him, Mike Tyson hit Norris on the chin with a left hook.  Norris' knees buckled, he dropped straight into a kneeling position, and then slumped onto his back.

For a few moments, Norris was laid out on the canvas, but he raised himself to one knee, then eventually rose on his own and walked himself, without a limp, to his corner.   And then the poker game began.

First, Richard Steele went over to Tyson and deducted two points for the foul.  That two point deduction seemed to indicate that Steele felt that Tyson had committed the foul intentionally, and that he needed to let Tyson know that his behavior would not be tolerated.  After all, an accidental foul would have resulted in only a single point deduction, right?

Meanwhile, Orlin Norris was being advised by his corner to stay put.  Claiming that he injured his knee on the knockdown, he sat on his stool with an ice pack and said that he could not continue.  Logic would dictate that
Mike Tyson would be disqualified for punching after the bell and that Norris would win via DQ.  It was Buster Douglas vs. Louis Monaco redux.....except for the decision.

The implications of serving another disqualification on Mike Tyson were obvious, which is why the MGM Grand's boxing ring was soon filled with literally dozens of uniformed police officers.  The standoff was made: 
Norris feeling he should deserve the DQ, and Nevada unsure of how to treat one of the sport's biggest money makers. 

Nearly 10 minutes after the fight ended, Jimmy Lennon announced that the fight had been ruled a "no contest" due to an "accidental foul".  Both fighters left the ring to a chorus of "boo"s.  But minutes later, NSAC executive Marc Ratner was telling ringsiders that the Nevada Commission would review the tapes, hold Mike Tyson's purse, and expect Tyson or a representative to explain his actions.   Could the ruling be reversed to a DQ?
 Stay tuned.

DQ or No Contest, this is another disaster for Mike Tyson.  Showtime had kept Tyson off pay-per-view in an effort to revive his plummeting draw power.  Now, despite the fact that not all of the blame for this incident lies on his shoulders, he has only worsened his situation.  His next fight can't possibly be a pay-per-view event, as a December 11 date was scheduled to be.  His reputation as a dirty fighter, as a shot fighter, and as a practitioner of controversy instead of fighting is only more cemented now.  While members of both fighter's camps were quick to talk about a rematch, it's difficult to imagine anyone caring enough to tune in.  Tyson can't fight, or at least fight clean, and Norris will be labeled a dog.  Everybody loses.

Luckily for the celebrities and luminaries seated in the expensive seats, the fight that preceded it was an action packed battle with a dramatic reversal of fortune ending.

IBF 130 lb. champion Roberto Garcia put his undefeated record on the line against #1 contender, and also unbeaten, Diego Corrales.  Despite giving up several inches of height and reach to the challenger, Garcia wasted no time asserting himself in the opening round.  As Corrales only watched, Garcia lead with left hooks and fired powerful leaping straight right hands, landing frequently and effectively.  Corrales did not offer up his jab, and Garcia had so little trouble reaching him that in between rounds he asked his corner for permission to try for a knockout.  His corner gave him the green light, and Garcia set out to end the matter at hand.

Now attacking without reservation, Garcia upped the beating on Corrales in the second and third rounds.  Battering the passive Corrales with combinations, Garcia was letting his hands go all over his opponent's body. 
Roberto sunk his fists into Corrales sides and cracked the challenger's head with a redundant left hook.  Diego demonstrated a fantastic chin, but was absorbing too many blows to last much longer.  Something needed to happen, and it did.

Near the end of the third round, the two fighters clashed heads.  Garcia came away with a small cut on the outside corner of his right eye.  As blood streaked a thick line down his face, Garcia began fighting with even more urgency, wobbling Corrales with a right to the head, left to the body, left to the head, right to the body combination.   Garcia's attack was relentless, but increasingly wild, and by the end of the fifth, Corrales finally began countering and finding his target.  It was about time, as Garcia's hook had badly swollen the challenger's right eye and cheek.

Waking up out of his coma in the fifth, Corrales began the sixth by letting his hands go.   For the first time, his long jab was thrown across the distance, and it opened up the holes of Garcia's reckless assaults.  As the two men exchanged freely, Corrales landed two left hooks that hurt Garcia.  Although Roberto remained upright, he was clearly on unsteady legs as the war continued.  Garcia masked the trouble he was in by loading up with more left
hooks, but the offense only gave Corrales more chances, and after a minute of pursuing the wobbly champion, Corrales dropped him with a short right-left-right at center ring.

Garcia beat the count, and hoped to make it to the end of the round. But with a minute to go, Corrales used the remaining time to battle a wobbly Garcia across the ring from one corner to another.  With 11 seconds before the bell, Corrales fired a picture perfect straight right down the pike that snapped Garcia's head back and had him seeing stars.   Yet somehow, the champion had the presence of mind to take a knee.  Resting on one knee cost him another point, but allowed him an eight count to clear his head, and buy enough time to make it back to his corner for a one minute rest.

One minute wasn't enough time, however, and Garcia began the seventh round on rubber legs and quickly had Corrales in his face.  Seconds into the seventh, Corrales repeated his devastating straight right, and not only did Garcia's head fly back, but his legs snapped out from under him and he dropped onto his back by the ropes.  Referee Joe Cortez didn't even need to begin the count, and young Diego Corrales had won his first world championship.

Overjoyed, the humble Corrales (29-0/24) openly cried as his cornermen lifted him into the air.  Clutching his new championship belt after the fight, Corrales admitted that he was so nervous that he couldn't throw any punches for the first several rounds.   Finally Garcia's power woke him up, and soon after he found himself a kayo winner.   There are some good paydays ahead for this rising star.  A rematch with Garcia, a Roy Jones undercard showdown with Derrick Gainer, or even a big step up to unify with Floyd Mayweather are all lucrative possibilities for the Sacramento, CA native.   If he can overcome the butterflies he may find his height and reach will lead him to some successful title defenses.

And so, the best and worst of boxing were once again on display:  the beauty of a come-from-behind victory and the beginning of a new title reign, and the continuing controversy of the Mike Tyson sideshow.  Boxing needs a bit more of the former and a little less of the latter.  With the stage now set for Holyfield-Lewis II, the real question is not "who will win" but "can they pull it off without incident".  Time will tell.


By Alan Taylor

When is a foul not a foul?  When Tyson commits it? 

In another bad night for the sport Tyson's latest comeback ended with a blow landed clearly after the bell which felled Orlin Norris.  Immediately referee Richard Steele appeared to signal a two point deduction from Tyson.  Norris, claiming a recurrence of a knee injury, refused to continue.  Surprise, surprise, after a hasty confab between Marc Ratner and other Nevada officials, the contest was ruled a No-Contest.

But questions must be answered.  If Steele did indeed rule a foul how did Tyson survive disqualification?  What is an accidental foul?  Surely it's either a foul or it's not.  Did Norris quit?  Certainly the knee injury didn't appear evident as Norris walked back to his corner.  He had fought a good first round and, had he continued, would have had a three point advantage over a Tyson who looked rusty and inaccurate in his punching.

Frankly I'm sick of the whole Tyson soap-opera and I'm glad I didn't sit up all night (the fight was shown around 5am British Summer Time) to watch this farce.  Tyson's purse was withheld pending an inquiry and he has apparently threatened to quit.  Unfortunately for true boxing fans, he won't.

Earlier in the evening Richie Woodhall lost his WBC Super-middleweight title to German Markus Beyer on a unanimous decision in Telford, England.  Floored in the first and three times in the third, Woodhall gritted his teeth and gave his all, especially in the last two rounds when it was obvious that only a KO would allow him to retain his title.  It wasn't enough however and the German deservedly took the decision.

From Quality To Trash:
Tyson Fouls Norris, "Naz" Flips Soto
By Francis Walker

After a weekend of two highly-anticipated boxing events during the opening weekend of the final World Series of the millennium, both former world heavyweight champ, Mike Tyson (46-3, 40KOs) and featherweight king, Britain's "Prince" Naseem Hamed (33-0, 29KOs) deteriorated from two exceptional prize fighters to yesterday's trash...

On Friday, October 22, in Detroit, Michigan, Hamed successfully won took the WBC featherweight championship from Mexican native, Cesar Soto (53-8, 39KOs), in a bout which featured more headlocks and bodyslams than two hours of WWF Smackdown and three hours of WCW Nitro combined.

The following night in Las Vegas, Nevada, Tyson, three-minutes after the opening bell, was nearly disqualified again for hitting Orlin Norris (50-5, 27KOs) a former world cruiserweight champ and the older brother of ex-WBC junior middleweight champ, "Terrible" Terry Norris, after the bell. Norris, who injured his right knee in the process, was unable to continue. Thus, ruling the contest a "No-Contest."

While Hamed-Soto was promoted by Cedric Kushner Promotions and televised on HBO, Tyson-Norris, promoted by Dan Goosen of America Presents, was aired exclusively on SHOWTIME.

Making only his third appearance in the United States since his dramatic, come-from-behind kayo of Kevin Kelley, Hamed came into Detroit's Joe Louis Arena with all the promotional hype and attention on him. While fans were in great anticipation of a great show in the boxing ring, Hamed stunk-up the dance floor with brutal headlocks, holding, and wrestling tactics against Soto.

Hamed, who was docked as much as two points in the contest, would hold Soto everytime they were inside the clinches. Soto, who grew increasingly annoyed with Hamed's tactics, would hit him after the break. Hamed displayed his frustration by picking Soto up off his feet and slamming him down onto the mat.

Coming into the contest wearing the unrecognized WBO version of the 126-pound title, Hamed unified his title with that of the WBC crown formerly held by Soto, winning unanimously by scores of 114-110, 115-110, and 116-108.

Give this fight writer a break!

Moving ahead: Tyson, making his first appearance since his stunning fifth-round kayo of South African, Frans Botha, the former Undisputed World Heavyweight Champion continued his quest to show the world whether he is either a shot fighter or a quality prize fighter.

Tyson, accustomed to shooting through the opposition with thunderous right hooks, showed excellent upper-body movement while working behind his left-jab. Norris, at a short and stocky 5" 10," 220 pounds, the same as Tyson, worked well behind his left-jab as well. Norris was smart enought not to stand inside and bang with Tyson, bobbed when Tyson bobbed and punched when Tyson punched.

Norris, not as strong as Tyson, was indeed effective. Although it was too soon to tell, both fighters performed well.

However, right after the bell sounded to end the first round, Tyson landed a left-hook to Norris' chin that put him flat on his back. In the process, Norris shifted his weight onto his right knee, forcing a two-point deduction
on all three judges scorecards against Tyson.

Despite the fact Norris walked to his corner with ease without even the slightest expression of pain in his face, Norris was believed to have not been able to continue forcing the cancellation of the bout, as a result of an
accidental foul.

Norris, having had his knee wrapped in ice-pack, will still receive his $800,000 purse, but Tyson on the otherhand, will have his $9 million plus held, upon the completion of what looks to be a brief investigation.

The never-ending saga to a controversial career never ends for Tyson.

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