For about two weeks before he was sentenced on assault charges, Mike Tyson served soup to the homeless at the Father McKenna Center in the District.
Delighted homeless men had plenty of advice for the pro boxer about how he should have fought his last fight, said center director Paul Magno. Then, the men became ecstatic when they heard that a Montgomery County judge had ordered Tyson to do some of his 200 hours of community service at a Rockville boxing academy and at the center after his release from jail in May.
But the men are still waiting for another glimpse of the champ. "They keep asking, `When are we going to see Mike again?' " Magno said. "I don't know; I haven't heard anything."
In all likelihood, they won't see Tyson again unless they buy a ticket. Upon release, he headed to Phoenix, where he'd left his boxing equipment at the Ricky Ricardo Gym. Under an interstate compact accepted last week, Tyson will be supervised there by the Maricopa County Probation Department. The boxer is expected to do his community service there.
A Maricopa County spokeswoman said Tyson has been ordered to perform at least 10 hours of service a month. He had planned to work with children at the gym where he is training for a fight this fall. But last week, he discovered that insurance problems will force some other choice.
Tyson has declared Phoenix his new home. But if he returns to this area in the next two years, before his community service requirement is completed, he still could turn up at the the academy or the shelter, his lawyer, Paul Kemp, said.
Charles Mooney, of the Charles Mooney Boxing Academy in Rockville, doesn't want to talk about it -- Tyson's earlier rape conviction could trouble parents of children who use the facility. But the men at the shelter would welcome Tyson with open arms.
"Homeless men don't get that much excitement in their lives," Magno said, "and finding a heavyweight champ passing you your lunch is pretty invigorating."
Tyson also was sentenced to prison in Indiana and 400 hours of community service after he was convicted in 1992 of raping a beauty pageant contestant. To fulfill the community service requirement, he met with troubled teenagers at a juvenile center.