ATLANTIC CITY -- "For the sake of a good fight, I would hope Mike Tyson is at his best," said Lou Duva, manager of Tyrell Biggs, who will be a 10-to-1 underdog to the heavyweight champion when they meet Friday night at Convention Hall in a scheduled 15-round match.

"Tyrell is going to be right there waiting for him," Duva said Wednesday. "I've never seen him as strong, as dedicated and as confident as he is today. I give you my guarantee. {Trainer} Georgie Benton has put together a fight plan that will enable Tyrell Biggs to beat Mike Tyson."

Biggs nodded his head in agreement. "I'm ready to fight," said the challenger (15-0) who at 6 feet 4 1/2 will be 6 1/2 inches taller than the champion (31-0), with a nine-inch reach advantage. "Mike Tyson comes along and knocks out guys who can barely stand up from the beginning and he's made bigger than life. The thing about it is, I've made the necessary adjustments. I have the power and the will to win. Mike Tyson is going to be in for a real fight this time."

It sounds like an old story, one told by Tony Tucker, Pinklon Thomas, Bonecrusher Smith, Trevor Berbick and almost everyone else Tyson has conquered. But Biggs insists he has faced great challenges in his life and is up to taking out Tyson in his big opportunity to win the unified heavyweight crown.

In 1984, Biggs won the Olympic gold medal, but shortly after his pro career began, checked himself into the CareUnit Hospital in Orange, Calif., for treatment of cocaine use.

But he says he is drug free now, although that fight will go on for the rest of his life. He says it's the kind of determination that he has brought to his problem with cocaine that will enable him to defeat Tyson and have a long reign as heavyweight champion.

"Champions are the right men in the right place at the right time," said Duva. "That right man will be Tyrell Biggs."

Biggs, although 26, has come to a title fight relatively quickly. After his career was sidetracked by drugs, he resumed fighting on undercards, and it was not until last year that he began fighting 10-rounders. In March he knocked out David Bey on the undercard of the Tyson-Smith fight. For this, Biggs has been praised for his courage, coming back after suffering a huge gash over his left eye early in the fight.

Before the sixth round, the referee advised Biggs' corner he would give Biggs only one more round, before stopping the fight. Bloodied and suffering from an injured left wrist, Biggs stunned Bey and knocked him out with a heavy right hand, just in time.

But the truth is that Biggs did not fight a very smart fight, letting himself be caught up in a slugging match with a slow-footed slugger.

"I don't know why I do it, but sometimes I have to get myself in trouble before the best comes out in me," he said. "I've beaten drugs, a broken collarbone and a broken hand, and now the cut. I don't know what anyone else could do to me. There's nobody out there that I can't beat now."

His right collarbone was broken in March 1986, by a Jeff Sims punch during the second round. Fighting with only his left hand, Biggs managed to fend off Sims' punishing blows and outpoint him over 10 rounds.

So what makes Biggs think he can upset Tyson?

He won't say precisely, but his manager Duva again points to a mysterious "plan" of trainer Benton's. "Now that Tyrell has learned to plant his feet and punch, there is no limit to how far he can go," said Benton.

Benton speaks of a "safety zone" where Biggs might find peace in the ring with Tyson -- but neither the trainer nor the fighter will say where that "zone" is.

"I think history is going to repeat itself," said Duva's son, Dan. "Floyd Patterson, Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Leon Spinks and Michael Spinks all won Olympic gold medals and went on to win the professional heavyweight championship. It's a great tradition, and I believe Tyrell Biggs is going to become a part of that tradition."

Biggs grew up around boxing rings in Philadelphia having been taken to scores of matches by his father. "Going to those fights with my dad is something I'll always remember," he said. "My father was a big boxing fan and I became one, too."

On the night of March 8, 1971, "my dad took me to see the first Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier fight on TV. Right afterwards, I knew I wanted to be a boxer." His father set up a heavy bag in their basement. Shortly, the father took the son to a gym to begin his amateur career.

On the way to his Olympic crown, Biggs sparred two rounds with Tyson during the Olympic trials. Neither remembers much about it, and Tyson seems unconcerned at this point that he failed to make the Olympic team. After all, his managers say he stands to earn $25 million in fights next year -- and that might not even include a fight with Michael Spinks, because Tyson's co-manager Jim Jacobs insists he is a long way off from coming to terms with Spinks' promoter, Butch Lewis.

What irks Biggs and Duva is that Tyson and his entourage are looking past Friday night's fight to a bout in January with former heavyweight champion Larry Holmes. Of that, Duva said, "We're not looking past this fight. Of course, if they want to schedule a 'comeback' fight in January that's their business. They know what they're doing, I guess, because they know in Jersey there's a 90-day rule when you get stopped or when you get knocked out.

"How can we honestly give Mike Tyson a return bout?"

Biggs' best claim to punching power came with a third-round knockout of virtually unknown Lorenzo Boyd in July, the last time he fought. He says he is criticized unfairly for his boxing skills, among them a stiff jab and plenty of movement.

But Tyson's trainer, Kevin Rooney, said, "Talk is cheap. Mike is in great shape. I just hope and pray that Mr. Biggs comes to fight. Then we're going to find out what he's made of."